Boyd & Sutton's Old Firm preview: 'Anything can happen!'


It is the pivotal fixture in the Scottish Premiership title race. Rangers host Celtic at Ibrox on Sunday in a match which could go a long way to deciding where the league trophy ends up in May.

The two sides meet for the third time this season, live on Sky Sports with kick-off at 12pm, with the two Glasgow rivals both harbouring real hopes of taking the title.

Celtic go into Sunday’s encounter one point ahead of Rangers in the table – but Philippe Clement’s side have a game in hand, so either team could take real control of the race with a victory.

Who else to preview the game than former Celtic striker Chris Sutton and former Rangers forward Kris Boyd? The Sky Sports pair give their thoughts on Sunday’s crucial fixture…

Who has the edge going into the Old Firm contest?

Sutton: According to Kris Boyd, Rangers have already won it! He makes Rangers favourites so it’s theirs to lose, isn’t it?

Brendan Rodgers has a good record against Rangers. You’d rather have him in the dugout than not. He has only lost one in 15 Old Firm games. They’ve been very good in both of the games against Rangers this season, they went to Ibrox and won with that wonderful Kyogo [Furuhashi] goal.

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Back in September, Kyogo’s stunning strike made the difference at Ibrox

But Celtic will go there and know this is a different Rangers team. Looking back at results and performances – the last manager was a bluffer – they’ve now got a manager in who knows his stuff and has galvanised the team a lot. They’re moving in the right direction.

But it’s impossible to call. That’s the beauty of this game. Anything can happen, any scoreline.

skysports rangers clement beale 6507761

Boyd: I do expect Rangers to win the league. Given it’s an Old Firm game at home, you have to fancy them. Under Philippe Clement, Rangers have turned it around – they look a different team altogether. That home advantage could be key.

But we’ve seen it before with Celtic – that pace up the top end of the pitch with Kyogo and Daizen Maeda – so Rangers are going to have to defend really well. But I’m looking forward to it.

Getting a first Old Firm win for Clement would be huge. Not only for himself, but in the context of the title race. Rangers are in a good place.

Will McGregor and Sima make it back from injury?

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 16: Celtic's Callum McGregor during a cinch Premiership match between Celtic and Heart of Midlothian at Celtic Park, on December 16, 2023, in Glasgow, Scotland.  (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
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Celtic captain Callum McGregor is returning from injury

Sutton: It’s a case of how fit Callum McGregor is. If he’s been sitting on a bike in a gym for five or six weeks, it’s not quite the same as training so how much work he does this week is key.

Brendan Rodgers will have a decision to make and Celtic are a better team with McGregor in it. But if he’s not fit, or even half-fit, then he can’t play.

But it’s a big boost for Celtic having Reo Hatate back with him coming through against Livingston, plus Cameron Carter-Vickers too.

Boyd: It’s a boost for a title run-in, but I can’t see [Abdallah] Sima starting. I think Rangers are pretty settled in that area with Fabio Silva playing off the left and Cyriel Dessers playing through the middle.

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Sima returned to action in Rangers’ 3-1 win over Hibernian on Saturday

But with the start Sima had at Rangers – before he had that bad injury – Clement will be delighted to have him back and fit. He wants to run in behind and he’s already shown that he knows where the goal is.

Will home fans only at Ibrox be crucial on Sunday?

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No away fans will be at the last two Old Firm games this season but Rodgers and Clement support the decision to allow them back from next season

Boyd: If you look back to the first Old Firm match this season at Ibrox, that fantastic Kyogo strike silenced Ibrox so it shows it can turn.

It can have its plus points but at the same time, it can go against you in exactly the same way it happened there. It’s up to Rangers to start the game positive and get the fans behind them.

Since Philippe Clement has come in, the Rangers fans have seen a change and a shift. They’ve got behind the team a lot more.

The frustrations were there before with Michael Beale, they’re not there anymore. It’s over to the players now to give the fans something to shout about on Sunday.

Sutton: It’s easy playing at Celtic and Rangers when things are going well. Rangers only need a dodgy start at Ibrox on Sunday – a poor 30 minutes where Celtic can take the lead – and then they’ll all be hammering the players! Just wait and see…

Away fans being allowed back at the Old Firm next season is encouraging. It’s a first step. We all want it back to the way it used to be with a full allocation.

We need that as a fixture, it’s a big game around the world. I suspect people would have been looking at the no away fans and thinking: ‘This is really petty, isn’t it?’

It’s not fitting of the game and we’re getting it back to where it should be.

Watch Rangers vs Celtic live on Sky Sports Football on Saturday from 11am; kick-off 12pm

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