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Celtic vs Rangers: Parkhead Old Firm Derby Showdown

Glasgow’s Great Old Firm Showdown: Celtic and Rangers Clash at Parkhead

Epic Rivalry Reignites in Scottish Premiership

Celtic Park in Glasgow is set to host the much-anticipated derby between Celtic and Rangers this Saturday, 30th December. The match, kicking off at 12:30 GMT, promises to be a thrilling encounter in the Scottish Premiership.

Celtic’s Defensive Shuffle: Carter-Vickers Out

Celtic’s preparations took a hit with the news that key defender Cameron Carter-Vickers will be absent for the derby, having been forced off during their 3-0 triumph over Dundee on Boxing Day. This setback for Celtic comes at a critical juncture in their season.

Manager Brendan Rodgers confirmed Carter-Vickers’ absence.

“He will not be available for the next two games. It’s not a long-term issue, but he’s out until after the winter break,” Rodgers stated.

Stephen Welsh, who stepped in at Dens Park, is likely to fill the void. Welsh’s performance against Feyenoord has been a testament to his readiness, despite limited opportunities this season due to the form of Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt.

Rangers’ Injury Concerns: Goldson’s Participation Uncertain

On the Rangers side, centre-back Connor Goldson’s participation hangs in the balance. Substituted in the latter stages of their win against Motherwell, Goldson’s inclusion will be decided closer to match day. “Some trained but it’s not sure yet if they will have a reaction or not. It’s better to make the assessments tomorrow,” Rangers manager Philippe Clement commented.

Clement’s Old Firm Debut: A Fresh Perspective

Philippe Clement, the Belgian tactician, faces his first Old Firm derby since taking over Rangers in October. Unbeaten in 16 games, Clement’s side trails leaders Celtic by five points, albeit with two games in hand. “I’m curious, honestly. It’s a game unlike any other in the world,” Clement shared, emphasizing the importance of each match in the quest for long-term success.

Celtic’s Dominance and Rangers’ Away Struggles

Statistically, Celtic have been dominant in recent league meetings with Rangers, losing only once in the last eight (W5 D2). Conversely, Rangers have struggled in away derbies, securing just two wins in their last 17 trips. The match also marks the 10th time these two titans face off in their final league match of a calendar year.

Team News: Injury Updates and Possible Returns

Celtic may welcome back winger Liel Abada and midfielder Reo Hatate, both sidelined for significant periods. Rangers have a longer injury list, with forwards Danilo and Kemar Roofe out, and several others questionable.

Players and Managers Speak Out

The derby has players and coaches on both sides expressing anticipation and focus. Celtic captain Callum McGregor spoke of the excitement surrounding these games, while Rangers forward Cyriel Dessers highlighted the significance of scoring in such a prestigious match.

Tactical Analysis and Historical Perspective

Brendan Rodgers boasts an impressive record in Old Firm derbies, with a win rate of 79% – the best for any manager in this fixture’s history. For Rangers, the challenge is significant, as none of their last seven managers have won their first derby since September 2011.

Final Thoughts: A Clash of Titans

As the countdown to this iconic clash continues, the focus is not just on the three points at stake but on the bragging rights in one of football’s fiercest rivalries. It’s a test of strategy, skill, and nerve, with both Celtic and Rangers determined to end the year on a high note.

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