Rangers v Celtic Cheat Sheet
Rangers v Celtic
Celtic and Rangers will go head to head for the fifth this time season on Sunday at Hampden in the Scottish Cup semi-final.
The rivalry has been dominated thus far by Celtic, whose control of the Premiership table is reflected in the fact that they have won three of the four previous matches against their Glasgow rivals while drawing the other game 2-2.
Indeed, these have typically been entertaining fixtures, with each match producing at least three goals.
While Celtic chase the treble, Rangers are simply attempting to salvage some silverware from what has been a hugely frustrating season. With that in mind, this Old Firm fixture is sure to be as competitive as ever.
The man in the middle will be the hugely experienced Willie Collum, who has yet to overseen a Rangers-Celtic match this season. He has been a relatively lenient referee, averaging just over three bookings per match in the 42 games he has overseen, while he has only shown six red cards in these games. Meanwhile, he has awarded 19 penalties this season.
Unsurprisingly, Old Firm matches see him book more players than average. He has overseen one such fixture in each of the last two seasons, with five yellows shown last term and four the season before that.
Indeed, the last really big match between these teams he oversaw was the 2019 League Cup final, which was won 1-0 by Celtic, saw five yellow cards, one straight and even a penalty.
Here are our best bets for players to commit fouls in the game:
Rangers winger Ryan Kent is remarkable value to commit just one foul in Sunday’s clash, with the wide man set to renew his rivalry with hard-tackling Celtic full-back Alistair Johnston.
Kent is notorious for going missing in Old Firm games, and the net result is that he becomes frustrated and gives away fouls. Against an opponent who will be policing as closely – and as physically – as the Canadian, these are only more likely to come. This was exemplified in the previous Old Firm game, in which we tipped him at 1.8 to concede at least one free kick.
He came through with flying colours, getting draw into a heated battle and giving away four fouls. Expect this pattern to continue in this encounter, particularly with so much riding on the game for Rangers. He’s on offer at 3.75 to commit two or more fouls, but at 1.75 to concede just a single free kick, that sill looks like great value.
Regardless of who Rangers play in attack, they will have a physical presence leading the line, whether that is Alfredo Morelos or Antonio Colak, who is an injury doubt. It is likely to make for a testing afternoon for the US international, who has stood up to the challenge well in previous matches against the Gers.
But while ‘CCV’ has looks strong defensively, he will have a hard time avoiding the concession of a foul. Indeed, in all four previous matches he has played against Rangers this season, he has given away at least one free kick – and on a couple of occasions he has given away two.
Typically a clean defender – he has not committed a foul in his last four matches against SPFL club who are not Rangers – this is the type of opponent that he is more stretched against and, therefore, more likely to be drawn into giving a free kick away. The tenacious nature of his direct opponents means this is a good value bet.
A January signing from Norwich, midfielder Todd Cantwell has been prolific at conceding free kicks since arriving in Scotland. He has given away fouls in nine of his last 10 appearances, while in his last six outings for the club, he has conceded 15 free kicks.
During this run, he has committed more than one foul in every game except for the previous Old Firm match – which is the reason that he is not a five-star bet for continuing that run. There may, however, be a greater defensive onus on him in this match than in the previous outing with Celtic because Rangers will not have the injured Ryan Jack to cover.
With the sluggish John Lundstram playing defensive midfield, breaking up counters higher up the park with tactical fouls could become part of his remit. Cantwell is a player who has shown that he’s not scared to give away a free kick, and that is likely to continue here.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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