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Celtic vs Rangers. What a grand fixture we have on our hands to end the year, and it can’t get bigger than this. And yet, it is not just the excitement that is grappling both sets of fans, but there’s something more than that.
Despite Celtic’s impressive dominance once more, Glasgow Rangers have shown they are ready to take the title race to the wire. A victory at Parkhead will see the Bhoys stretch the lead to eight points, although Rangers have played a game less.
Most importantly, having lost the previous two derbies, another defeat will inflict a psychological blow that the Gers may struggle to recover from. It was around this time last year that they started to crumble, and eventually drifted out of the picture despite showing early promise.
Can Rangers end the year within touching distance of their fierce rivals? Steven Gerrard’s side has asserted a doughty refusal to wilt under pressure this season. And they’ve shown great mental fortitude to bounce back, be it domestically or in Europe.
But this could be the defining game of the season. They are up against a side that has won 11 league matches in a row. A first victory at Celtic Park since 2010 should be on Gerrard’s mind, but even a draw would not be a catastrophe.
Celtic team news: Mohamed Elyounoussi (foot), Hatem Abd Elhamed (abductor) and Jozo Simunovic (knee) still out alongside Daniel Arzani (knee). However, Jonny Hayes is available after recovering from a shoulder injury.
Predicted Celtic line-up: Forster, Boli, Jullien, Ajer, Frimpong, Forrest, McGregor, Brown, Christie, Ntcham, Edouard.
Rangers team news: Filip Helander (foot) is the only absentee for the Gers.
Predicted Rangers line-up: McGregor, Barisic, Katic, Goldson, Tavernier, Kamara, Jack, Arfield, Kent, Morelos, Aribo.