Friday, 16 September 2011

Old Firm Round one

This Sunday afternoon will see the first Old Firm game of the season at Ibrox Park.

The teams  have not exactly been away from each other for long and after seven contests last year,a bitter taste is still be left in the mouths of some as a few moments of madness in one particular game cast a cloud of darkness over the remaining fixtures. Lets hope the football is the focus this year.

New Rangers manager Ally McCoist who has experienced the Old Firm more than most as a player and assistant manager locks horns with Celtic manager Neil Lennon for the first time as manger after taking over from Walter Smith at the end of last season. He will be hoping to pick up his first Old Firm Victory at the first time of asking.

Rangers go in to the game top of the table, one point ahead of rivals Celtic and will hope home advantage will help them pick up an important win. With many players like Goian, Wallace, Bedoya, McKay, Bocanegra and Ortiz set to make their Old Firm Debut if they feature and they will hoping to get the ground running.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon will be hoping his side can emulate some of their performances last season in OF games as Celtic managed to win three of the seven OF games and pick up two draws compared to Rangers winning two and two draws.

 Celtic have had a decent start to the season like Rangers with the only blip being the 1-0 defeat at home to St. Johnstone. Aside from that loss Celtic have scored some big wins including big home wins against Dundee United (5-1) and Motherwell (4-1) being the pick of the games so far this season.

Rangers have had a decent start and sit top of the table. The opening 1-1 home draw was a disappointing start but since then Rangers have went on to five on the bounce conceding no goals in those five games and their best perfomance being a dominant 3-0 away win against Motherwell at Fir Park.

The game promises to be intriguing as ever with the winner gaining bragging rights for a few months and a place at the top of the table after the game.

The winner is not guaranteed to win the league. Last Year Celtic picked up more points in Old Firm games but never won the title and Rangers were champions. This shows what Graeme Souness used to say when he was in charge of Rangers is true when talking about Old Firm games in the league; "They are only four games of the season."

Key Players:


Nikica Jelavic: The Croatian striker is a fitness doubt for the game but he is a class act and Rangers are much stronger team with him than without him. He scored the winner in the League Cup Final against Celtic last season to hand Rangers the victory.

Kyle Lafferty: Lafferty has been an enigma for some fans and has not always produced the goods in Old Firm games but the "Big game player" on his day is a major threat and Jelavic and Lafferty together and on form would cause Celtic problems at the back.

Steven Davis: The Rangers stand in Captain is the playmaker and heart of the Rangers midfield. He is in fine form so far this season and he will be looked upon to influence play on Sunday like he has done before like in the League Cup final last season.


Gary Hooper: Hooper is Celtic's main striking force and a cert to start on Sunday. He is a constant threat when in form and Celtic's best performances usually include a big input from Hooper.He managed to score a couple of Old Firm goals last season and he is always a threat to defences in the box.

Beram Kayal: Pulling the strings in the Celtic midfield is Kayal's job as well as holding the midfield together to protect the defence. The defensive midfielder had a good Old Firm debut season and will be looking to stop Davis' threat on Sunday while enforcing his own on the game.

Ki Sung Yeung: The Souh Korean is one of the emerging talents in Scottish football. Ki has grown into his role in the Celtic midfield and when he plays well Celtic look a much better side. For Celtic's midfield to be dominant Ki will have to help Kayal.


There is not much difference between the sides and a draw would not be far from most people's minds when thinking of the game and i am sure both teams would take a draw. Rangers and Celtic will go for the game but i can't see many goals.


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