Celtic aim for Old Firm derby win after clinching title

Celtic aim for Old Firm derby win after clinching title

Celtic have already secured the Scottish Premiership title as they get ready to face Rangers in the last Old Firm derby of the season.

The champions sealed their triumph with a 2-0 victory at Hearts on Sunday but they have been dominant for a long time.

Celtic took a five-point lead after thrashing Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Rangers 4-0 in September and maintained a nine-point gap by coming from behind to earn a 2-2 draw in Michael Beale’s first derby as manager in January.

Celtic then won the next three clashes in all three domestic competitions to cruise towards a treble.

With Rangers guaranteed second place and set for the Champions League third qualifying round next season – hoping to join their city rivals in the group stage – does Saturday’s game matter? And what could it reveal about next season? Derby ‘matters to everyone’ in Glasgow Having worked with Steven Gerrard at Rangers for more than three years and then returning to the club as manager last year, Beale knows the derby well.

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“This game grabs your attention because you live in a city where this game is usually important to everyone,” said the Englishman.

“The players know that they would like to give their fans something to cheer about over the summer. It would mean a lot. There should be a lot of energy and excitement towards this game from my team.”

‘No advantage for next year’ Ange Postecoglou will next season have the chance to follow in the footsteps of previous managers Neil Lennon and Gordon Strachan and win three consecutive Scottish top-flight titles, something which Martin O’Neill failed to do.

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However, the Australian does not think Saturday’s game will have an effect on the new campaign.

“Our goal every year is to be champions,” he said. “Within that, you have these individual contests that you also know are important and significant to the club. Every derby is that kind of game.

“I don’t think it gives you any sort of significant advantage for next year. We just want to finish the season strong and it’s a chance to have a look at a couple of things as well from a team perspective building into next year.” Robby McCrorie will keep his place in goal for Rangers after making his first appearance of the season last week against Aberdeen and midfielder Ryan Jack returns to the squad. Borna Barisic, Antonio Colak, Ben Davies, Steven Davis, Filip Helander, Tom Lawrence and Kemar Roofe are all out.

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Winger James Forrest has returned to training at Celtic and should be available while midfielder Aaron Mooy may also return. Defenders Cameron Carter-Vickers and Alistair Johnston are out.

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