Perennial Scottish title favourites Rangers and Celtic go head-to-head for this first time this season in Sunday’s Old Firm clash at Ibrox.
Rangers currently lead their old adversaries by a point, with the reigning champions unbeaten on 16 points from six games. Celtic, courtesy of that shock early season home defeat to St Johnstone, have 15 on the board.
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With four derby clashes a season in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, neither team will panic if they are on the wrong side of proceedings this weekend. But the first Old Firm encounter of the year always gives either team a chance to set down a marker.
If the home side gain the three points here, they will have a four-point lead in September – a not insignificant advantage.
The Bhoys will be sweating on the fitness of key pair Anthony Stokes and Scott Brown after they missed the midweek Europa League trip to Atletico Madrid through injury.
On-loan defender Badr El-Kaddouri could return after being cup-tied for the Atletico clash but Emilio Izaguirre remains on the sidelines with a serious ankle injury.
Meanwhile, off the pitch, it hasn’t been the best week for the ‘Gers, with chairman Craig Whyte having to deny that the club is on the brink of insolvency.
Stating that it’s ‘business as usual’, it follows the news that former chief executive Martin Bain has had almost half a million pounds of the club’s assets frozen. This was after a judge agreed there was “real and substantial risk of insolvency”. Mr Whyte said the club had a good chance of succeeding in a tax tribunal.
And they will be hoping to put that all to one side in the white-hot atmosphere of an Old Firm derby this Sunday at 12:30.