The first Glasgow derby of the season is finely balanced at the top of the Scottish Premiership as champions Celtic host bitter city rivals Rangers on Saturday knowing a win can put them ahead with a game in hand.

Rangers, meanwhile, know that a win will increase their lead at the top and put them in the driving seat. We preview one of the world’s biggest derbies and guide you through the best bets.

Depleted Celtic out to stamp authority

Supporters of both sides will argue that you don’t need any extra motivation to go and win this fixture, but Neil Lennon’s side know they can go top if they can see past Rangers this weekend. However, the Scottish champions will have their work cut out.

Celtic haven’t hit their best form this season, despite only dropping two points in the league, and they go into this game without several key players, including star striker Odsonne Edouard and attacking midfielder Ryan Christie among others. While the Hoops have strength in depth to replace them, they will have to rely on players stepping up to the plate if they’re to see past Steven Gerrard’s in-form side.

Other than a draw away to Kilmarnock in their second match of the season, Celtic have won every league fixture to start the current campaign and have gone a total of 19 Scottish Premiership matches, including last season, without a loss. In fact, their last defeat in league action came in this fixture back in December 2019. The Bhoys are slight favourites to avenge that defeat on Saturday at 6/4.

If Celtic are to taste victory in this Glasgow derby, they’ll need to produce better form despite their positive results. They needed injury-time goals from Leigh Griffiths and Patryk Klimala against St Johnstone to secure a win before the international break, which was a timely reminder that they won’t always get by without the performances to match results.

Griffiths could start this fixture due to the lack of options for Lennon, and he’s 5/1 to score the opener.

Rangers fighting for back-to-back wins at Celtic Park

Top-of-the-table Rangers will go into this one knowing they have a fantastic opportunity to put pressure on Celtic as they bid to stop their rivals from winning an unprecedented 10th successive Scottish Premiership title. The Light Blues have been in good form lately, securing comfortable victories against Motherwell and Ross County, while also keeping things tight at the back. They have only conceded three goals in 10 league outings, so they’ll be keen to continue that in the upcoming derby.

The Ibrox side have had a tough time in this fixture over recent years, but Gerrard has instilled discipline and made Rangers a force to be reckoned with domestically and in Europe. Their 2-1 win at Celtic Park back in December shows they are more than capable of winning this one, and they’re available at 9/5 to do so on Saturday.

Their star striker Alfredo Morelos has yet to score in this fixture in his three years at the club, but he’s 9/2 to break his duck and grab the all-so-important first goal of the game.

Given the circumstances, and at this early point of the season, a draw wouldn’t be a bad result for either side, and it’s available at 9/4. Only once have either of these sides failed to score in the league this season, so expect goals. Both teams to score is 8/11, while a score draw is 3/1.

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