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Sport Who will win Celtic vs Rangers? Our writers make their big game predictions

22:15  16 october  2020
22:15  16 october  2020 Source:   msn.com

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It's the derby like no other - and it has a unique edge to it this time around.

With no fans inside the stadium, it will be like nothing we've ever witness before when Celtic take on Rangers in Glasgow's East End at lunchtime on Saturday.

Covid-19 means the stands of Celtic Park will be empty and an eerie silence will fill the air as the two old rivals battle it out for three points.

This could have a huge say in the title race too despite it being so early in the campaign. Both sides come into it on the back of bright starts to the season, even if performances haven't always been at their best.

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Rangers are playing some excellent football but Steven Gerrard will be aware that form goes out of the window and Neil Lennon's men will be fired right up for it.

The Hoops will want to show they are still top dogs in Scotland and the criticism that has been aimed at them for their showings will add to that.

So how will the game go? Here's what our writers had to say.

Alex Curran et al. that are talking to each other © Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

KEITH JACKSON

Celtic’s build up to this one has been heavily disrupted by coronavirus but Neil Lennon should still be able to field a very strong starting eleven. The biggest problem facing the champions this lunchtime is the hit-and-miss form which has punctuated their start to the season.

While Rangers appear to be thriving on the current closed door environment, Celtic’s players have struggled to find top gear. For that reason, Steven Gerrard and his players will rightly fancy their chances of securing a big result behind enemy lines.

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Celtic 1 Rangers 2

DAVID McCARTHY

My belief that Rangers will win isn’t based on Celtic missing a number of their big name players due to Covid. Nor is it about the fact they won’t have 59,200 fans behind him this time round. It’s simply that Rangers, up to now, have played better this season even if they’ve spilled two more points than their rivals. If they both play to their recent form, Rangers should edge it.

Celtic 1 Rangers 2

CRAIG SWAN

Celtic have been damaged by injuries and Covid cases and it might just have a galvanising effect on Neil Lennon’s team. Rangers are in fine form and it will be tight, but the hosts to edge it.

Celtic 2 Rangers 1

a man holding a football ball on a field © Craig Williamson/SNS Group

GAVIN BERRY

Both toiled last time out and pre-Old Firm nerves were probably a factor in that. With so much at stake this season, key players missing and a surreal atmosphere we can expect a cagey opening derby of the season with the two sides desperate not to lose.

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Celtic 0 Rangers 0

GORDON PARKS

Neil Lennon will be forced to shuffle his pack due to illness and injury but he still has the better players at his disposal despite Rangers showing improvement from last season. Leigh Griffiths has timed his return to perfection and may once again be the man for the big occasion.

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FRASER WILSON

A thrilling draw which will set the tone for a nip and tuck season I expect to go right to the wire. Celtic have players missing but Neil Lennon still has brilliant options. Rangers look strong and balanced right across the park. A cracker in store.

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JONNY McFARLANE

Rangers are the form team but ties between these two under Lennon and Gerrard have been marked by their unpredictability. Rangers have started the season in slick form and although Celtic have huffed and puffed, they are still doing the business. The game will be decided in one of two areas: Ryan Kent’s pace and direct running or via a well-delivered set-piece where the Hoops can cause serious problems. If Rangers can deal with Shane Duffy and co. in the air, their counter-attacking prowess will see them sneak a narrow victory.

Celtic 1 Rangers 2

GRAEME YOUNG

The visitors have earned plaudits after a bright start to the season but you can’t help but feel the Hoops will use their pre-match setbacks as a source of inspiration. Neil Lennon’s side have lacked a vibrancy all season but their character is never in question as the last-gasp win over St Johnstone proves. Rangers excel in big games home and abroad but a Celtic side dreaming of title immortality will be ready to go whoever is playing. Expect both teams to trade blows but neither will land the knockout blow on a day of high drama in Glasgow’s east end.

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Everything Celtic's European opponents have said since Neil Lennon took charge .
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