A winning volley two minutes from time by Alfredo Morales in their encounter with St Johnstone yesterday has now primed Glasgow Rangers for arguably the most critical – and anticipated – Old Firm derby in years.
Celtic are due to travel to Ibrox on Saturday, only the second of four scheduled league encounters with Rangers this season but arguably the one which will be viewed in hindsight as its most important.
Whatever the eventual outcome, Saturday’s head-to-head still qualifies as the most meaningful Old Firm derby in years – in a league context at least – as Rangers finally appear to be mounting a meaningful challenge to Celtic’s domination, six years after having undergone liquidation for financial irregularities.
The Gers, who were priced at 9/1 at the beginning of the 2018-2019 season to emerge as the Scottish Premiership’s outright winners, have seen their odds since revised to 6/1.
Celtic Continue to Fumble
Although still on track for a historic so-called treble treble, Celtic have been unconvincing overall this season in a slow but persistent decline that manager Brendan Rodgers has struggled to reverse since the second half of last season.
The Bhoys have uncharacteristically dropped points in six games out of the eighteen they have played so far this season, whilst Rangers have surpassed expectations – at least in terms of results if not always in terms of performances – under the stewardship of Steven Gerrard.
Nonetheless, bookmakers are sticking with the Bhoys for the upcoming Old Firm outing, priced as favourites at [7/4] to win the game whilst the ‘Gers have been handed odds of 21/10.
A Celtic win could see the Bhoys finally pull away from the rest of the pack but this is a campaign where the statistics have demonstrated little to separate the two sides up until now – despite Gerrard’s own reservations about the Gers’ recent progress – and which suggests that a draw [21/10] would be the most fitting outcome for a season which has so far preferred to throw up questions as opposed to resolving them.