by Zack Lambert
October 16th, 2020
Rangers at Celtic
Spread: Celtic (0); O/U: 2.5
Moneyline: Rangers +165, Celtic +155, Draw +240
Time/Location: 7:30 ET, Celtic Park, Glasgow, Scotland
The Premiership is deep into their season already, 10 matches in for Rangers. A pair of draws to Livingston and Hibs are the only blemishes on the club’s record but their biggest test comes this weekend. Rangers can lay claim to the best defense in the Premiership this season, allowing just three goals on the year. Connor Goldson and Filip Helander have done really well in the central defense while Ryan Jack and Steven Davis have put out prolific performances in the defensive midfield.
Another defender, though, has been the team’s best player to date. James Tavernier, a right wing back, has torn through the Scottish opposition, scoring five times with three assists already. Alfredo Morelos has done wonders at the top of the 4-2-3-1 and his attacking midfielders, namely Ianis Hagi and Scott Arfield who have combined for three goals and eight assists, are large reasons why. Rangers are one of the best teams in Scotland and their start to the season only reinforces that thought.
Celtic have won nine straight titles to the Premiership and through nine matches they’re on pace for another one. The team have shown little regard for human life, torching the opposition for 25 goals on the season to just five allowed. An early draw to Kilmarnock leaves Celtic just a point behind their rivals so far this season but they have their sights set on beating Rangers tomorrow and taking a firm grasp on the table.
Rangers have a very good team but Celtic have stars on their team, players who could legitimately develop into some of the best players in the world. Albian Ajeti and Odsonne Edouard are honestly incredible at the top of the formation, combining for nine goals on their own already. Local boys Ryan Christie and Callum McGregor have dominated the midfield along with James Forrest on the right side. Shane Duffy has been a godsend to this point, dominating the central defense, and he’ll get reinforcements as Diego Laxalt is also on his way from AC Milan. If this defense gets much better then Rangers might not have a chance at the title this season.
Analysis and Pick
Glasgow derbies are always one of the most exciting days on the calendar. Celtic and Rangers are rivals as old as time and sometimes it seems like they’re the only clubs in Scotland. While Celtic are certainly the more talented team, Rangers have a decent chance with some absences from the Celtic side. A slew of Covid issues will leave Edouard, Nir Bitton, Ryan Christie, and Hatem Elhamad out of the side while James Forrest might also miss with injury.
Those are serious problems for the side and even with Ajeti ready for the clash I’m not sure they can sustain the attacks of Rangers. On the other hand, the lack of international talent on Rangers might pay off as they’re ready to field a full squad. The timing doesn’t seem right for Celtic and these absences could actually spell doom for the title hopes of the team. Rangers will take the Old Firm 2-1.