Old Firm poised for title showdown at Ibrox

Venue: Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow Date: Sunday, 7 April Time: 12:00 BST
Coverage: Follow live text & radio coverage on the BBC Sport website & app; watch highlights on Sportscene

When Rangers and Celtic meet at Ibrox on Sunday, they do so amid the closest title race in Scotland for well over a decade.

Those on both sides of the divide are trying to play down the derby, though.

“We have another Old Firm game in a few weeks also, so it’s not yet a decisive game,” Rangers manager Philippe Clement said.

“It is important for the title race but I wouldn’t say it’s a title decider,” Celtic defender Liam Scales agreed.

Despite those statements, both camps will know that a win would help them take a huge step towards winning the league.

As it stands, Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic lead the Scottish Premiership by a point, having played a game more than Rangers.

However, when Clement replaced Michael Beale at Ibrox in October, Celtic led by seven and it seemed almost inevitable they would retain their crown.

The Belgian has overseen a remarkable turnaround and changed the mood among the Rangers fans during his relatively short tenure.

The sides will meet again at Celtic Park following the league’s split, but for Sunday at least, all eyes will be trained on Glasgow’s southside.

What have previous games told us?

Last 10 meetings graphic

If Clement and Rangers are to take a step towards a first title since 2021, they will have to do something they are yet to do this season – take points off Celtic.

At Ibrox earlier this season, Japanese striker Kyogo Furuhashi capitalised on some slack defending to secure all three points for the defending champions in Rodgers’ first derby since his return to Glasgow.

Beale was still in the Rangers’ dugout then, but it was Clement in charge come the second derby of the term.

The former Monaco coach was unbeaten in his first 16 games when he took his side to Celtic Park in December, but Kyogo proved to be the difference-maker again, as Rodgers continued his superb record against Rangers.

Paulo Bernardo put Celtic in front in the first half, before Kyogo doubled that lead in stunning fashion with a left-footed strike from range.

James Tavernier’s late free-kick pulled one back for Rangers but they could not muster an equaliser.

In both games, there has been controversy.

At Ibrox, Kemar Roofe had a goal chalked off for Cyriel Dessers’ contentious foul on Gustaf Lagerbielke.

And, in the reverse fixture, Rangers wanted a penalty when Alistair Johnston handled in the box while tussling with Abdallah Sima, but later replays showed Sima was offside in the build-up.

Team news

Rangers’ Ridvan Yilmaz, who injured himself on international duty with Turkey, will be assessed ahead of the Old Firm game.

Ryan Jack and Danilo (knee), remain out along with Oscar Cortes, who had surgery on a muscle injury.

Celtic could be at full strength, with captain Callum McGregor (Achilles) and winger Luis Palma (calf) both in contention to return.

Choose your starting XI. It’s up to you how to approach it – you could go for the team you WANT the manager to pick or the one you THINK he will.

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