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Glasgow Derby Rings In The New Year

Celtic and Rangers head into the New Year SPL Glasgow derby clash on Monday with plenty of questions to be answered. Brian P. Dunleavy poses a few of them here.

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Derby Day Questions for Celtic and Rangers

By Brian P. Dunleavy

How will Daizen Maeda fare against James Tavernier?

The Japanese winger has continued the fine form he displayed during the World Cup in Qatar against the likes of Aberdeen, Livingston and Hibs—scoring a worldie against the latter on Wednesday. But he hasn’t faced a fullback the caliber of Tavernier in any of those fixtures. Of course, we could also reverse this question. The truth is, Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has a number of viable options on the flanks, and Tavernier could have his hands full, regardless of who starts. Still, for us, Maeda and his boundless energy would seem to pose the biggest challenge for the Rangers skipper.

Will Alfredo Morelos play a role in the derby clash?

The mercurial Rangers striker makes headlines in these fixtures, whether he scores or not. However, new Rangers manager Michael Beale wants—and needs—goals, not sideshows, particularly with Kemar Roofe not fit. The Colombian Morelos will need to be disciplined, and productive, for ’Gers to prevail. It’s hard to imagine either Scott Wright or Rabbi Matondo getting the nod in his place.

Who will win the battle of the midfield?

On paper, at least, Celtic have an advantage here, with Callum McGregor, Matt O’Riley and, ideally, Reo Hatate lining up against Beale’s apparently preferred group of John Lundstram, Ryan Jack and Alexander Lowry (or perhaps Glen Kamara). If, however, Hatate is forced to play at right back (with Josip Juranovic only just back from World Cup duty) that could change things, forcing Aaron Mooy into the mix. The Aussie also appears to be riding high following his performance in Qatar, with a brace against Hibs, but he remains unproven in the Glasgow derby and his lack of pace can be exploited.

And what about the managerial mind games?

Neither Beale, in what will be his fourth match in charge at Ibrox, nor Postecoglou are exactly old hands in the Glasgow derby, but the Aussie has experienced a few of these fixtures already and has a proven approach to them. Beale also doesn’t have the luxury of a nine-point cushion in the table. This is a must-win match for Rangers, and it will be interesting to see if Beale is up to the task. He’s already won the press conferences in his time in charge, but this fixture is a different animal.


We’re not big on them here at the Full Scottish, particularly given that our allegiances are known. We’re not betting men, either, but if we were, we’d take the Hoops in this one—let’s say, 2-0. This is literally Beale’s first rodeo as manager, and neophytes rarely do well in these fixtures.

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