A derby day double header sees us go from Merseyside to Glasgow as Rangers and Celtic face off in what could be an absolute classic, and a match that could affect the title race even at this early stage of the season.
Not since 2007 have Celtic and Rangers competed alongside each other in the group stages of the Champions League. Both will look to prove that they’ve got what it takes to compete in Europe’s highest level of competition when they face off Saturday lunch time.
With 28 points taken from a possible 30 between the two giants of Scottish football so far this campaign, everything is shaping up in a way that suggests that this is going to be one very exciting game of football.
This stats pack will provide you with everything you need to know going into Saturday’s Old Firm derby. If you’re looking to put together a bet builder, then all the numbers behind shots, goals, cards, and more are below. Hopefully it’ll help you make those tough decisions on who, or what, to back ahead of the game.
Giovanni Van Bronckhorst looks set to make only one change to the team that ran out 4-0 winners against Ross County last weekend.
Scott Wright could well be the casualty here, with Glen Kamara replacing him and dropping into the midfield. This will likely see Malik Tillman pushed out wide, with Tom Lawrence deployed slightly further forward.
Despite a return from suspension, Colombian Alfredo Morelos is tipped to be starting this one on the bench, with in form Croatian Antonio Colak likely to occupy that number 9 spot once again, a reward for his fine start to the season.
Ange Postecoglou looks unlikely to make a single change to the side that demolished Dundee United 9-0 last time out, and why would you after such an emphatic win?
This means starts for the likes of Starfelt and Hatate, both of whom have been used sparingly this season, with 2 and 3 appearances each in the club’s opening 5 games.
Kyogo Furuhashi is likely to continue up top after 6 goals so far this campaign, with Liel Abada looking set to make just his second start of the season after his hat-trick last weekend.
Rangers have truly outshone their opponents in every area so far this season, with a 2-2 draw against Hibernian, a game that saw them reduced to 9 men, being the only blip on their record. Rangers sit 2 points off of Celtic in 2nd place as a result of this.
An xG of 2.22 and xGA of 0.81 can only be rivalled by Rangers’ Old Firm counterparts. They also dominate in every other area, with shots, shots on target and corners all heavily in their favour when compared to their opponents.
Celtic remain the only side with a 100% record so far this campaign, and sit comfortably at the top of the Scottish Premiership.
21 goals scored and just the 1 conceded could well make grim reading for Rangers fans. Celtic are also the only side to boast a better xG than their fierce rivals, with theirs sitting at a staggering 3.23. This will of course, be heavily inflated by the 9-0 drubbing of Dundee United however.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Rangers players certainly haven’t been afraid to have efforts at goal, with all six of their top performers in this market having over 2 shots a game.
Although sitting at 2.93 shots on target per 90, top performer in this metric Scott Arfield is once again unlikely to start and should be reduced to another substitute appearance.
Elsewhere, Colak, Tillman, and Tavernier have all had a minimum of 1 effort on target per 90 this season and are all worth looking at for shots and shots on target this weekend.
Similarly, Celtic have very much had their shooting boots on this season. 4 players have managed to muster over 2 shots on target so far this season, which is quite frankly ridiculous.
Liel Abada’s 3.04 shots on target have certainly been inflated by last week’s 9-0, and 4 substitute appearances. I would expect him to have less success in this department this time round.
Kyogo Furuhashi has managed 2.09 shots on target whilst starting every game, and is very much capable of continuing this against Rangers.
O’Riley and Jota are also players to keep an eye on in the shots market. The two like a pot shot from outside the area, and sit at 4.12 and 2.85 shots per 90 respectively.
Player Goals and Assists
Croatian Antonio Colak has done a lot of the heavy lifting in the goalscoring department so far this season with 4. That doesn’t mean to say that others aren’t capable of chipping in however.
James Tavernier remains a serious threat from set pieces and the penalty spot with 2 to his name so far this season. Tom Lawrence has also registered the same number.
A total of 6 Celtic players have already scored multiple goals this season, 2 of them being centre backs in Jenz and Starfelt.
The eye opening stats here are the combined 13 goals scored by Furuhashi, Abada, and Jota, with the former two both having scored hat-tricks last weekend. With 4 assists also to his name, Jota is more than capable of providing his teammates with plenty of chances.
Rangers sit at 2.20 cards per 90 this season, and in a fiery Old Firm derby this could well be eclipsed.
3 players already find themselves on 2 or more bookings. Goldson tops the list with 3, surprising given that he commits a solitary foul per 90.
Lundstram should be of serious interest here. The combative midfielder has given away 1.74 fouls per 90 this season, picking up 2 yellows for his troubles. A match of this magnitude could well see him go into the book again on Saturday, particularly with the likes of Hatate playing around him in the midfield.
Glen Kamara is one to keep an eye on here, despite only 1 yellow, the Finn has made 2.22 fouls per 90. Expect to see him involved in plenty of duels throughout the game.
Celtic have a number of players that like to drive forward and dribble with the ball, all of whom could cause serious problems for Rangers in the Old Firm.
Despite plenty of wide players such as Greg Taylor and Josip Juranovic being fouled 2.00 and 1.63 times per 90 respectively, the more interesting battle comes in the middle of the park. This is really worth taking into consideration given that Tavernier and Barisic don’t give away much in the way of fouls.
Reo Hatate is fouled 1.67 times per 90 and I expect him to draw plenty of fouls out of the combative pairing of Lundstram and Kamara.
Match-ups to Watch
Kamara/Lundstram vs Hatate
Colak vs Starfelt
Goldson vs Furuhashi
Celtic have only picked up 1.00 cards per 90 so far this campaign. Perhaps more interestingly, they haven’t picked up a single booking in their last 3.
With referee Nick Walsh only dishing out 3.00 cards per game, there’s a chance that Celtic continue in this vein and walk away from Ibrox with very little in the way of punishment via cards. With this being an Old Firm derby however, this could all be thrown out the window.
5 players have picked up a card each for Celtic, with Liel Abada being the side’s biggest offender in the fouls department with 1.74 per game. He’s certainly a player I would keep an eye on, as well as Taylor and McGregor, who have both made 0.80 fouls per 90, each with a yellow card to their name.
Rangers have numerous attacking threats that like to run with the ball and could draw Celtic into more fouls than they’ve been making all season.
Kent is certainly Rangers most dynamic threat, drawing 2.80 fouls per 90, but is coming up against a full back in Juranovic who has only made 0.20 fouls per 90.
Tillman and Barisic are the real players of interest here. The pair have drawn 1.85 and 2.09 fouls per 90 this campaign and will be up against Taylor, and Abada respectively. These are the Celtic players that have shown that they can at least be drawn into a couple of fouls even when playing against weaker opposition, and are likely to face much greater problems here against tougher opponents.
Match-ups to Watch
Abada vs Barisic
Taylor vs Tillman
McGregor vs Lundstram/Kamara
That’s it for the Old Firm stats pack. Best of luck with any Bet Builders and I hope to see some winning slips sent over to me on my socials.
Once again, please remember to gamble responsibly today. Try and stick to a budget, stay sensible and keep it fun.