3 things Rangers must do in Saturday’s Ibrox clash with Celtic
No Ladbrokes SPFL side has managed to defeat Celtic since St Johnstone in May 2016. However, the Hoops will face one of their trickiest tests of this campaign at Ibrox on Saturday, against an in-form Rangers side.
Pedro Caixinha’s men have taken seven points from their last three league games, as well as knocking Partick Thistle out of the League Cup at Firhill on Tuesday night.
Still, with the Hoops having been imperious in recent times, Rangers will need to be at the top of their game to take anything. Here’s what we think they need to do…
Attacking setup could expose weakened Bhoys’ backline
While Celtic’s unbeaten domestic record is still going, a pair of major defensive injuries have definitely seen something of a dip in form during the past month.
Brendan Rodgers’ side have kept just one clean sheet in their last five matches in all competitions, conceding 11 goals in the process. Admittedly, that has included a meeting with Paris Saint-Germain, but they visibly miss sidelined duo Dedryck Boyata and Erik Sviatchenko.
There’s very little chance of any side in Scotland keeping a clean sheet against a side with Celtic’s attacking quality, so it’s simply a case of outscoring them if the Gers are to win. With that in mind, they must attack from the off and pressure a Hoops defence which definitely has the propensity to buckle at present.
Herrera-Morelos should be Caixinha’s front two
There’s no doubt Kenny Miller has plenty of pedigree in this fixture. 10 goals in 17 meetings with Celtic proves that. But while the 37-year-old has continued to defy his advancing years throughout his second stint at Ibrox, his powers look to finally be fading this term.
With his advancing years and current dip in form, Caixinha could look instead to a pairing of Alfredo Morelos and Eduardo Herrera – especially against a Hoops side who possess plenty of pace, but not a great deal of physicality.
The latter offers an aerial threat which could prove vital from set pieces, while Morelos’ tireless energy levels and constant harrying of defenders could well produce a mistake – one he’d likely pounce upon.
His cheeky second goal against Dundee (one of eight in 10 outings for the club) left at-fault keeper Scott Bain red-faced. However, while it was a goalkeeping howler, it’s the kind of error the competitive Colombian has forced time and again with his quick thinking and relentless pressing.
Dembele – not Griffiths – needs man-marking
With Moussa Dembele having returned from injury to partner Leigh Griffiths in last weekend’s defeat of Ross County, it’s likely we’ll see the same front two lining up for Rodgers’ men at Ibrox this weekend.
However, the Gers’ main focus should be on the Frenchman. While Griffiths has scored just twice in this fixture during his time at Parkhead, and hasn’t really been at his best thus far this season, Dembele has consistently been a thorn in Rangers’ side.
There’s a strong argument he should be man-marked throughout, with the pacy but physical Fabio Cardoso probably the best candidate for that role. If they can keep the 21-year-old quiet, there’s a strong chance of Rangers taking something from this game.
Meanwhile, the in-form Morelos can be backed at 2/1 in the Anytime Goalscorer market.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing