Old Firm derby matches between Celtic and Rangers are known for being blood-and-thunder affairs that often produce fireworks in terms of the tackles as much as the football.
Last season’s five fixtures between the clubs for example produced a staggering 26 bookings, with the final four of these contributing 24 towards the number.
On Saturday, it will be Nick Walsh who referees the Parkhead fixture.
Looking at Walsh’s record, he has shown a slight tendency to book more Rangers than Celtic players. He averages little over 1.33 cards per game to Gers players and around 1 per game to Hoops stars. Given that Saturday’s fixture will be played at Celtic Park and the atmosphere promises to be white-hot, it would not be unsurprising to see this exaggerated in this fixture.
Furthermore, Celtic are deservedly favourites to get the win. They are a more technical side than Rangers and are likely to draw more fouls.
Last season, there was a clear bias towards players being booked in the second half of these fixtures. There were only six first-half cautions across these matches but 18 in the second period (plus two in extra-time). Cards were shown most prevalently when the teams were level, but curiously it was the team in front who picked up more bookings than the one chasing the game.
With all that in mind, here are four players to watch for a yellow card on Saturday.
Celtic v Rangers Predicted Line-ups
Celtic’s possible starting lineup (4-3-3): Hart; Juranovic, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor; Hatate, McGregor, O’Riley; Abada, Furuhashi, Jota
Rangers’s possible starting lineup (4-2-3-1): McLaughlin; Tavernier, Goldson, Sands, Barisic; Lundstram, Kamara; Tillman, Lawrence, Kent; Colak
Rangers centre-back Connor Goldson faces a difficult challenge at the weekend against an attack that is in excellent form. Celtic are likely to go with the mobile Kyogo Furuhashi at the forefront of their attack, which will not suit Goldson, who prefers to come up against a more traditional style No.9. Kyogo’s speed and dribbling could easily induce a poorly timed challenge in a dangerous area that could be worthy of a yellow.
The English defender, meanwhile, is no stranger to cautions in Old Firm matches, having been booked three times in the past, including his last visit to Celtic Park on May 1.
Meanwhile, his disciplinary record in the early weeks of this season has been poor. He has been shown five yellow cards in only nine matches, making him easily the player most prone to bookings who will start this fixture.
The all-action Denmark Under-21 international midfielder is likely to be in the thick of the action in this encounter. The 21-year-old is known for his energy in the middle of the park, but this could count against him in terms of picking up a booking in a match like this.
There are periods of the game when the match is likely to become a battle in the midfield, with tackles from both sides set to be flying around. While O’Riley will relish this challenge, it is also one that he will have to be careful not to get carried away by. Although he has previously started a couple of Old Firm matches, his experience in the fixture remains relatively slight and he is the type of player who needs only to mistime one challenge to find himself under the scrutiny of the officials.
American midfielder Sands finds himself in the unfortunate position heading into his Old Firm debut of being a player very much on the media watch list. He should have been sent off last weekend in a match against Ross County, but that he wasn’t means that he is free to play in this encounter. It also means that the referee’s treatment of him is likely to be closely scrutinised.
For a player coming into a Glasgow derby for the first time, this is a difficult position to find yourself, particularly as his head-to-head opponents are lithe and technical players who enjoy the challenge teasing their rivals.
Sands, meanwhile, has shown a propensity to get himself into disciplinary trouble. He has picked up three bookings in only eight starts this season. A combination of the occasion and some unfortunate attention count against him going into this game.
Antonio Colak is a striker who is built for matches like this. Big and burly, he will make a nuisance of himself to the opposing defenders by any means necessarily. While he has caught the eye with his scoring exploits – notably bagging the goal that sent Rangers into the Champions League group stages – he is a player that the referee is likely to watch closely on Saturday.
Colak will relish the tussle with the Celtic centre-backs and is likely to play much of this game on the edge with regards to his discipline. His physicality is just the sort of thing the match officials might want to make an example of at some point during the fixture. Indeed, he has already been booked three times for Rangers in nine games. It would be no surprise to see him add to that on Saturday.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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How to watch Celtic v Rangers in the Scottish Premiership?
📅 When is Celtic v Rangers? / Saturday, 3rd September 2022, 12:30
🏟 Where is Celtic v Rangers? / Celtic Park (Glasgow)
📺 What TV channel is Celtic v Rangers on? / Sky Sports Main Event
🟨 …And who is the referee for Celtic v Rangers? / N. Walsh 🏴