COMMENT By Matt Farr
The Old Firm rivalry returns for a sixth time in all competitions this season in Saturday’s clash at Ibrox, with the two sides having met at Hampden last week.
Celtic took the spoils in a comfortable 2-0 victory, which saw goals from Callum McGregor and Scott Sinclair book their place in the Scottish Cup Final in May.
However, Pedro Caixinha will be calling for significant improvement from his Rangers side when they host their rivals on Saturday, with the home side looking to avoid a sixth straight Old Firm derby without a win.
That’s at both an individual and team level, with a number of players falling well below expectation in the latest defeat to Celtic.
Here, Football Insider reveals three players in particular that must pull their weight at Ibrox if Rangers are to trump their undefeated rivals.
The 27-year-old did well to come deep and retrieve possession from the midfield last time out, but it was the final product that was lacking for Waghorn.
Celtic will do their utmost to once again limit the number of chances Rangers have in front of goal, meaning it could be a case of Rangers making the most of one opportunity.
If the attacker can trouble their defence, he will be doing his side a huge favour. He missed a golden opportunity in the late rally at Hampden on Sunday, and he will have to convert such chances on Sunday.
Waghorn has had more influence in the final third in recent weeks, but there is still considerable room for improvement.
He played the full 90 minutes of the defeat to Celtic last week, although he was lucky not to be hooked. Celtic’s midfield trio were far more dominant in the engine room, and Holt offered little to alter the complexion of the game.
His opponents were allowed far too much time on the ball to dictate play and pick a pass, while Holt himself did little with the ball on the rare occasion it fell at his feet.
Rangers couldn’t create nearly enough for the likes of Waghorn and Kenny Miller to convert up top, and they can’t possibly expect to win against Celtic without much bite in the final third.
He’ll have another tough job in his hands after it was confirmed by Celtic that Scott Brown will be able to feature in the clash, and if given the nod, the 24-year-old will need to step up and take charge of the midfield.
Perhaps it was the inexperience of the 18-year-old that showed against Celtic, and the decision by Caixinha to select him for such a tie can then be questioned. But he was undoubtedly one of the worst players on the pitch.
He was given a torrid time by winger Patrick Roberts on the left-hand side, and could be in for another tough afternoon on Saturday.
Even if Brendan Rodgers turns to James Forrest as an alternative to Roberts, the pace and power of Celtic’s wide-men must be nullified, and Beerman will have a massive job to do.
In other Rangers news, Caixinha has confirmed that this midfielder will be out for 10 weeks.