Can Rangers stop The Invincibles?
Frank Monkhouse | 29 April 2017
Old Firm rivals clash at Ibrox on Saturday
Saturday brings the final Old Firm Derby of the season, and what will be the second of the week. It’s like it has never been away. Rangers were knocked out of the Scottish Cup last Sunday at Hampden by The Hoops, in pretty convincing fashion too.
That 2-0 loss to their bitter Glasgow rivals ensured Rangers’ season was over, and they will finish without a trophy, an idea that would’ve been scoffed at back in the summer when fans were unfurling banners in Govan which warned – we’re going for 55! Not this year they’re not, and the club have been as bad off the field as they’ve been on it.
A season best forgotten
The Joey Barton embarrassment, arriving as a hero, promising much but delivering little, before heading back south to Burnley clutching an expensive coffee machine. Another big name signing, Niko Kranjcar spent most of the season in the medical office and has only now started back training. Mark Warburton and his magic hat, who did a disappearing act, before reappearing again. Everyone was wise to his tricks.
All in all, a season best forgotten for Rangers and their long-suffering fans, who will secure a Europa League spot, but only through a third-place finish, behind Aberdeen. That means the locals have one final shot at getting something out of this miserable campaign, and it comes on Saturday as they look to halt Celtic’s unbeaten league record. As goals go, it’s petty, but inflicting Celtic’s first defeat of the season would feel like an achievement. Maybe not so much for the players, but the fans would love it.
Fans hoping for a competitive afternoon
The stats don’t rate it though. New Gers boss Pedro Caixinha remains unbeaten in the league since taking charge of the Ibrox hotseat, three wins and two draws, but he looked like an innocent bystander last Sunday at the national stadium.
Of the previous five meetings this season, only one has been at this venue, a 2-1 Celtic win on New Year’s Eve. Each of the three league games has seen both teams score, and clicking yes in that market again will net you 7/10 with us. Celtic go in as nailed-on winners of the match, according to our football traders, and they did look like they beat The Bears without ever getting out of first gear last week.
There is very little at stake here in terms of the league, meaning both sets of players can enjoy the occasion and play football. It’s about time Glasgow fans got to see a competitive derby match. Those who like the upset can get Rangers at 7/2, although both teams to score and Celtic to win looks the shrewd play, at 23/10.