Rangers vs CelticScottish Premiership, KO: 12:00 Sep 3, 2023, Ibrox
RANGERS entertain Celtic in the first Old Firm showdown of the new season on Sunday.
And both sides will go into this severely lacking in confidence.
Celtic's shortcomings have been well illustrated this season. They have already lost the chance to emulate last season's treble after Kilmarnock eliminated them from the Viaplay Cup.
And last week, St Johnstone – who had been having a nightmare of a season – held them to a goalless draw at Parkhead.
They also have serious defensive issues and it's hard to believe it's the same team who clinched the treble a couple of months ago after such a swashbuckling season. They look miles off it.
But Rangers have hardly impressed either.
They had keeper Jack Butland to thank in midweek for preventing a cricket score in the Netherlands as PSV Eindhoven absolutely battered them 5-1 in a Champions League scoreline that actually flattered Micheal Beale's men.
They have recovered from an opening day defeat at Kilmarnock too, but none of the huge influx of players – with the exception of the goalkeeper – have hugely impressed.
There's an argument for saying it's the poorest Rangers and Celtic sides for a good few years, but the fans of the victors on Sunday won't care about that.
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How the bookies view it
Rangers are favourites despite their midweek mauling and you can get 6/4 with bet365 for a home win.
Recent head to heads
There were six Old Firm games last season…and it took Rangers until the last one to finally get a win, although it was by then a meaningless encounter with the title already in the east end of Glasgow.
Celtic won in both cups, both clashes at Parkhead and drew the first game at Ibrox.
Players to watch
Cyriel Dessers may get the nod here and the Nigerian international has netted twice in the cups but has yet to open his account in the league. He is 12/5 to change that with William Hill.
Kyogo Furuhashi hasn't quite got going yet this season, but games against Rangers bring out the best of him and the Japanese genius is 15/8 to score anytime at Ibrox.
Anything else catch the eye?
Despite their Champions League disaster, Rangers can outmuscle a depleted Celtic side here and take the spoils in the first meeting of the season.
Celtic have too many players injured or off-form at the moment. The central defence is an accident waiting to happen, while Greg Taylor and Daizen Maeda appear to have forgotten how to play football under Brendan Rodgers. The workload is too much for Callum McGregor and they could get overrun at Ibrox.
Rangers will have the advantage of no away fans and they won't face any better team this season than PSV. That annihilation can be excused and they can cut through the Celtic midfield and defence, who look very vulnerable.
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The Hoops may have a couple of new signings but it's a big ask to blend them in such a powderkeg of a meeting.
There's bound to be the usual carry-on in these games and you can expect Todd Cantwell to be at the heart of it. Back him to be booked – as he was in three of the four Old Firm games he played in last season – at a nice 7/4 with bet365.
You would expect a fired-up Rangers to throw everything at Celtic in the opening stages, especially with that defence. The 4/5 on Rangers to win the first corner at BetVictor looks a banker.
This Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and Celtic will be played on Sep 3, 2023 and kick off at 12:00. Check below for our tipsters best Rangers vs Celtic prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.