Scottish Premiership: Rangers vs. Celtic
Location: Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow
Date: Sunday, September 3
Kickoff Time: 12:00 BST
How to Follow: Tune in to BBC Sounds, BBC Radio Scotland, and BBC Radio 5 live for live commentary. You can also get real-time updates via the Sport Newes Center app and website. Highlights will be showcased on Sportscene.
This Sunday’s clash between Rangers and Celtic isn’t just another chapter in the age-old rivalry; it’s the most pivotal match in Michael Beale’s stint as Rangers’ skipper so far.
A win here could act as a salve for their Champions League thrashing in Eindhoven—a bitter pill that might be somewhat easier to swallow for the Ibrox faithful. On the flip side, a loss would amplify the already circulating negativity, sparking conversations perhaps Beale doesn’t want to be a part of.
The stakes are sky-high as this will be the first Old Firm derby where Beale’s handpicked squad faces off against Celtic—a team that has itself seen considerable shake-ups during the off-season.
This makes predicting a clear winner harder than choosing a favorite Star Wars trilogy. Both teams have shown uneven form since the season’s kickoff. Yet, with Rangers playing on their home turf, I’m slightly leaning towards them as the ones with the upper hand.
Lineups, Old and New
For nostalgia, you can reminisce about line-ups from Brendan Rodgers’ last Old Firm face-off. For everything Rangers, our page is your go-to hub for news, analysis, and fan perspectives. Also, Rangers updates are now a tap away on the Sport Newes Center app.
The Consistency Paradox
Michael Beale’s arrival last season seemingly put Rangers on the fast track to consistency, especially towards the season’s tail-end. But hey, consistency and empty trophy cabinets go together like pineapple and pizza—something’s not quite right.
For a Rangers manager, hoisting silverware isn’t optional—it’s in the job description. Beale is all too aware of that. While Sunday won’t give away any trophies, a win could set the tone for the rest of the season and boost morale among the new recruits.
The win would essentially serve as Beale’s mic drop moment, allowing him to boldly declare, “This is MY team, and we’ve got what it takes to topple the reigning champions and seriously vie for the league title.”
The Great Experiment
The elephant in the room for Beale is that he might not even know who should be in his starting XI. The jury’s still out on the new faces—Cyriel Dessers, Danilo, Sam Lammers, Abdallah Sima, Kieran Dowell, and Jose Cifuentes. They now bear the weight of enormous expectations as they step onto the field for their first Old Firm derby.
You can’t train for the sheer intensity of an Old Firm game. By the time the ref blows the final whistle, these newcomers will know exactly what they’ve gotten themselves into.
When it comes to Beale’s selection dilemma for Sunday, the defense and goalkeeper are pretty much set in stone, unless Borna Barisic’s midweek injury forces a reshuffle. In the middle of the park, expect Ryan Jack to return, with Rabbi Matondo likely retaining his spot. But the attacking line-up? That’s anyone’s guess. Danilo? Dessers? Lammers or Sima? Beale’s choice will be like watching a director decide on a movie cast—it’s part vision, part gamble.
While internal pressure is likely minimal even if they fail to best Celtic, external scrutiny will certainly intensify, especially after their Champions League debacle. The last thing Beale needs is a growing cloud of skepticism over his new signings. This match is less about points on a table and more about reclaiming narrative control.
So, it’s not just another Sunday—it’s a Sunday that could define a season.
Words by Steven Thompson, in conversation with BBC Scotland’s Richard Winton
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Old Firm derby
When is the Old Firm derby between Rangers and Celtic taking place?
The match is scheduled for Sunday, September 3, with a kickoff time of 12:00 BST. It will be held at the Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow.
What is the significance of this particular Old Firm derby?
This match is crucial for Rangers’ manager Michael Beale. It’s his biggest test so far and could either act as redemption for a recent Champions League loss or add fuel to growing criticisms.
How can fans follow the match live?
Fans can tune into live commentary on BBC Sounds, BBC Radio Scotland, and BBC Radio 5 live. Real-time text updates will be available on the Sport Newes Center website and app.
Who are the key new signings to watch out for in the Rangers team?
New signings like Cyriel Dessers, Danilo, Sam Lammers, Abdallah Sima, Kieran Dowell, and Jose Cifuentes are in the spotlight, as they face the enormous expectations that come with playing for Rangers.
What’s the current form of Rangers and Celtic leading up to this match?
Both teams have had uneven performances since the start of the season. However, Rangers have the home advantage, tipping them as slight favorites for this match-up.
Is Michael Beale under pressure to win this match?
While there might not be internal pressures for a win, a loss would certainly increase external scrutiny, especially coming off the back of a heavy Champions League defeat.
What is the predicted line-up for Rangers?
While the defense and goalkeeper positions are mostly stable, the midfield and attack are still experimental. Players like Ryan Jack and Rabbi Matondo are likely to feature, but the attacking lineup is less certain.
Are there any injured players that might affect the match?
Borna Barisic, a key player in Rangers’ back four, came off injured in midweek, and there might have to be a reshuffle in the defensive lineup as a result.
What could a win mean for Michael Beale and Rangers?
A win in this high-stakes game could serve as a morale boost and set a positive tone for the rest of the season. It would help Beale affirm that this is “his” team capable of challenging for the league title.
Where can I find more information and updates about Rangers?
For everything related to Rangers, you can visit the dedicated page for news, analysis, and fan perspectives. Updates are also available via the Sport Newes Center app.