“They have to believe they can turn it around”: pundit emphasises importance of Celtic clash for Rangers

Celtic will all but guarantee they win the Scottish Premiership title with a victory in today’s Old Firm derby while Rangers also have to consider their upcoming Europa League semi final against RB Leipzig.

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Former Scotland international James McFadden says Rangers have to believe they can still win the Scottish Premiership title going into today’s Old Firm derby.

The Sky Sports pundit was discussing the match alongside former Rangers striker Kris Boyd and ex-Celtic midfielder Stiliyan Petrov ahead of the broadcasters live coverage of the crucial fixture.

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Celtic currently have a six point lead at the top of the table with four games to play including today’s derby while Rangers need to consider the importance of their Europa League semi-final second leg on Thursday.

RB Leipzig travel to Ibrox with just a 1-0 aggregate advantage from the first leg giving Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side a real chance to progress to a European final.

However, it was Boyd who suggested that his old team could not afford to rest players for the game at Celtic Park due to the significance of the fixture.

He said: “There’s no doubt that Rangers could have done without this game today, sandwiched in between two massive semi-final ties.

“Especially when against Celtic, we saw it last week against Motherwell where you can leave a good few out, I don’t think you can do that because the last thing you want is to be embarrassed by your rivals.

“It’s a big game for Rangers, they will want to try and keep a hold of their title, it’s an opportunity for a few ranger slayer to stake a claim and get themselves into the thoughts for thursday night which i s a massive game not only for Rangers but for Scottish football.”

Although McFadden agreed with his fellow pundit’s sentiment that winning the title for a second year running is now probably beyond the visitors, they still have to believe that it is achievable.

When asked about the title race, he added: “I think it’s done.

“The danger is that Rangers can’t come into the game thinking, and I’m sure they won’t, that it’s done.

“They have to believe they can turn it around.“I know they’ve got a big game in midweek but this is the biggest game because it’s the game in front of them.”

Celtic v Rangers lineups

Celtic have named an unchanged starting line-up from the side who won 2-0 at Ross County last Sunday.

Meanwhile, Rangers make three changes from their 1-0 defeat in Germany on Thursday night with Ryan Jack, Glen Kamara and Scott Wright dropping to the bench and Steven Davis, Scott Arfield and Fashion Sakala coming in.

Celtic starting XI: Hart, Ralston, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor, O’Riley, McGregor, Hatate, Neves Filipe, Furuhashi, Maeda.

Substitutes: Bitton, Giakoumakis, Abada, Turnbull, McCarthy, Rogic, Bain, Forrest, Welsh.

Rangers starting XI: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Bassey, Barisic, Lundstram, Davis, Arfield, Aribo, Kent, Sakala

Substitutes: Jack, Diallo, Itten, Kamara, Sands, Wright, McLaughlin, Lowry, King.

A win for Rangers will cut the gap at the top of the table to just three points with three games to play although Celtic have a far superior goal difference.

Rangers final three league matches are Dundee United (H), Ross County (H) and Hearts (A) while Celtic have Hearts (H), Dundee United (A) and Motherwell (H).