3 min Both teams look bang up for this, as you’d expect. The pressing is high, frantic but also a little disjointed from both forwards lines, as Ryan Jack takes control in that holding midfield position for Rangers.
Nearly a dream start for Rangers! The ball is in the net via Matondo, but the offside flag goes up against Dessers in the build-up. That would have been some beginning.
We kick off with kick off. Kick, kick.
When I said there were absolutely no Celtic fans in the ground, I omitted Neil Lennon, whose loyalties are obvious – although he’s here in a professional capacity in the Sky Sports studio – as fans unfurl a giant tifo ahead of the players’ arrival onto the pitch.
An email from Joshua Reynolds before we get going:
The clash of the used-to-be England goalkeepers. As a Stoke supporter I’m happy to see Jack has found himself a starting role in Scotland. As an aside: do you think Butland’s teammates call him ‘Butters’?
Hopefully not ‘Butterfingers’.
A reminder that there are absolutely no Celtic fans attending this game. Rangers had offered their rivals 708 tickets for the match, but that was refused due to safety concerns
Beale has been speaking to the Sky cameras before kick-off:
Going into this first international break, a peroid of reflection, it would mean a lot for us to win the game. It would sum up our work in pre-season, our recruitment and our work as a staff.
These games mean a hell of a lot to people, and also in the landcape of the league, so it’s important to put on a big performance.
Celtic – great manager, a great team. This game will give both teams a lot of food for thought going into the rest of the season.
He’s spoken about his faith in young left-back Dujon Sterling, in the absence of Borna Barisic who failed a late fitness test and misses out.
It’s worth pointing out that St Mirren are currently top of the Scottish Premiership table at this early stage – although that’s certain to change by the end of this game, whatever the result.
Graeme Souness believes Michael Beale cannot afford to lose today. After a harrowing week in Europe and a loss in Rangers’ opening league game of the season, it’s hard to argue with such logic.
I wonder who he wants to win?
Celtic will be hoping new boy Nat Phillips can get up to speed pronto, given their recent worries at the back, with many supporters unconvinced by the partnership between Gustaf Lagerbielke and Liam Scales in central defence. They’ll be tested today. Cameron Carter-Vickers (injured) is a huge miss for Rodgers’ men.
Ryan Jack did media duties for Rangers on Friday ahead of this one, so it was always likely that he would come back into the starting lineup, adding ballast to the midfield. Many supporters were surprised to see him on the bench for the PSV Eindhoven game that turned into a shellacking.
A rather more attacking Gers lineup than we expected Michael Beale to name, with Kemar Roofe and Rabbi Matondo both named in the front three and Todd Cantwell shifted back into midfield.
Celtic rather more predictable, with the dangerous Kyogo Furuhashi leading the line. A big game is needed from skipper Callum McGregor in midfield, one change as Liel Adaba comes in for Yang Hyun-Jun on the left.
Rangers (4-3-3): Butland; Tavernier, Goldson, Souttar, Sterling; Jack, Raskin, Cantwell; Matondo, Roofe, Dessers.
Substitutes: McCrorie, Ridavn, Lundstram, Lawrence, Lammers, Cifuentes, Sima, Davies, Danilo.
Celtic (4-3-3): Hart; Johnston, Lagerbielke, Scales, Taylor; McGregor, O’Riley, Turnbull; Abada, Maeda, Kyogo.
Substitutes: Bain, Palma, Yang, Holm, Kobayashi, Oh, Kwon, Bernabei, Ralston.
Hello and welcome to our coverage of today’s Old Firm derby – the first of the new season and one which sees both Glasgow giants come into the game a little wounded and unsure of themselves. Mick Beale’s men were rocked by that Champions League qualifying rout by PSV in midweek, while Celtic drew a 0-0 blank against St Johnstone last week and appear to lack fluency under new boss Brendan Rodgers. This year’s fight for bragging rights in Scottish football looks an intriguing one, with the result of today’s clash at Ibrox likely to set the tone for the coming months. We’ll get team news in a matter of minutes; then we wait for the midday kick-off.
In the meantime, here’s Ewan Murray’s preview on the big match at Ibrox.
Even in as fevered a football environment as Glasgow, the shifting of bragging rights in the days leading up to an Old Firm clash felt novel. Rangers supporters were purring with expectation after St Johnstone held Celtic to a scoreless draw last Saturday.
The return of Brendan Rodgers had already been punctured by a feeble League Cup exit at Kilmarnock. The blue half of the city were licking their lips at the prospect of Rodgers bringing his team to Ibrox.
The changing of attitudes came after midweek events in Eindhoven. The manner of PSV’s 5-1 humbling of Rangers left Michael Beale grasping to defend his “new team”. It is one that displayed old failings. Suddenly, the dynamic of Sunday’s derby changed once more. Both managers find themselves under intense scrutiny. Should Celtic prevail, patience for Beale from the stands will evaporate.
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