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Celtic and Rangers Final Countdown

Sunday’s League Cup Final is only the second time rivals Celtic and Rangers will meet in the League Cup Final in over a decade. The Full Scottish preview’s the final here.

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Preview Of Sunday’s League Cup Final Between Celtic And Rangers

By Brian P. Dunleavy

Non-followers of Scottish football likely believe that Celtic and Rangers meet in every domestic cup final. Or, at least they think they frequently do so. However, in fact, a matchup between Glasgow’s big two in a cup final is actually relatively rare. This Sunday’s League Cup final at Hampden actually marks only the second time the pair have faced each other for the trophy in more than a decade, with the last meeting in 2019.

For the record, the two rivals haven’t squared off in the Scottish Cup final since 2002. Such is the unpredictability of cup competitions that, on any given day, any team can get the better of the one deemed the favorite. In most cases, Celtic or Rangers play the role of favorites, of course.

Anyway, that last Glasgow derby final, in the 2019 League Cup, was won by Celtic, 1-0, on a fluke goal by Christopher Jullien, who left the Hoops over the summer. Rangers had actually dominated much of the match that day, but the Bhoys were in the midst of securing their fourth consecutive domestic treble and, apparently, could do no wrong.

Interestingly, despite Celtic’s dominance domestically over the past decade-plus, it is they that come into the match this Sunday with more turnover within the squad since that day in December 2019. Eleven of the Rangers players in the squad that day still ply their trade at Ibrox. At Celtic, that list includes only captain Callum McGregor, James Forrest and Greg Taylor—and only McGregor and Taylor play key roles in manager Ange Postecoglou’s squad less than four years later. That speaks to the rebuild the Aussie has undertaken during his time at Parkhead.

New Boss

New Rangers bench boss Michael Beale has spent most of the past couple of weeks conceding the 2022-23 Premiership title to Postecoglou’s side—though he did walk back his comments on the league a bit on Wednesday.

We don’t pretend to have an inside track on Beale’s thinking, but we’d wager that those statement do not reflect his true thoughts on the matter. Rather, we see it as an effort to get his squad focused on the domestic cups, for which they are very much still in play.

A win this Sunday would not only secure Beale his first trophy in charge, but also set his team up for the run-in to the league campaign. Yes, they sit nine points back, but two derby matches remain. Psyche and psychology aside, Celtic remain the favorites on Sunday. The Hoops haven’t lost a domestic match since September, and they’ve dropped points only once since then, to Rangers at Ibrox.

Since that 2-2 draw, Celtic have won nine in a row across all competitions, and conceded only twice in that time. Rangers, too, have been on a roll since Beale’s arrival in Glasgow in November, as they are undefeated in 14 matches across all competitions in that time. We don’t go in for predictions much here at the Full Scottish. But one thing is for sure: Sunday will be a unique spectacle at Hampden. Literally and figuratively.

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