Rangers and Celtic: a closer look

Published on 17 August 2023 at 20:00

As the Scottish football season starts again, two games in, neither Rangers or Celtic have set the world alight with their performances. As Michael Beale prepares for his first full season in charge at Ibrox and Brendan Rodgers begins his second spell at Parkhead, let's take a closer look into what we can expect to see from the old firm sides this season...



When Rangers stopped Celtic from winning the illustrious ten league titles in a row in 2021, Steven Gerrard was the manager but supposedly the mastermind behind it, was Michael Beale. It was for this reason that in November of last year when Giovanni Van Bronckhorst left the club, Beale seemed the obvious replacement.

Since his arrival the team showed some good form in the league, however last season will ultimately go down as a failure as The Gers lost to their rivals twice at Hampden in both cup competitions, as Celtic lifted all three domestic trophies.



With notable departures such as Ryan Kent, Alfredo Morelos and Fashion Sakala in the summer, it will be a completely new look attack for Rangers this season. To replace them, Beale has brought in Danilo (£6.5m from Feyenoord), Cyriel Dessers (£4.3m from Cremonese), Sam Lammers (£3.5m from Atalanta) and Abdallah Sema (on loan from Brighton).

Judging by the first few games of the season, the attacking additions Rangers have made play a lot narrower to the likes of Kent and Sakala. Therefore, it will be down to the fullbacks: James Tavernier and Borna Barasic to get forward and provide width.

When it comes to injuries, surely it can't get any worse than last season for Rangers, who were forced to play their fifth and sixth choice centre backs in multiple Champions League matches. The teams medical staff will be hoping to be less busy this year but with the likes of injury prone John Souttar, Ryan Jack and Kemar Roofe (who still isn't fit) in the squad, they won't be allowed to take any holidays any time soon. 



In terms of getting their targets, Rangers have had a successful transfer window, however the positions where they have the least depth are centre back and striker. If Beale is able to make these few additions then The Gers would have a very well rounded squad.



When the news broke in June that Ange Postecoglou had accepted the Tottenham job, Celtic fans must have felt that their worst nightmare had become a reality. After one of the worst seasons in the clubs recent history in 2020/21, the Australian managed to bring the League title back to Celtic Park and won five out of six trophies during his tenure.

However, it didn't take long for The Celts to acquire a suitable replacement and like Rangers, picked a man who knew the club well. In his first spell, Brendan Rodgers won every domestic trophy possible with The Hoops and was adored by the Parkhead faithful. However, when the first Premier League side came a calling (Leicester City), Rodgers was off like a shot and in doing so, tarnished his reputation with sections of the Celtic support...



Following Rodgers' recent reappointment, the majority of Celtic fans have welcomed him back with open arms however there are still factions that still have reservations. It is for this reason that a good start to the season is key for Celtic, as if not, things could get ugly very quickly.

From his time at Swansea, Liverpool, Leicester and his first spell at Celtic; we all know Brendan Rodgers likes to play possession based football and play out from the back. It is for this reason that he signed ball playing centre back, Maik Nawrocki from Legia Warsaw for £4.3m to replace Carl Starfelt, who moved to Celta Vigo.

Another key player who moved away from the East End of Glasgow this summer is Jota, who moved to Al-Ittihad for £25m. Despite the hefty fee, Celtic are yet to make a big money attacking signing to replace Jota, however the club have recently shown interest in Wolves' Daniel Podence, which would be a huge marquee signing.



At the start of the season Celic's injury list was relatively short, however Hoops fans are now anxiously waiting on medical updates on Cameron Carter-Vickers and Reo Hatate; who both got substituted off against Aberdeen. The potential injury to Carter-Vickers illustrates the need for Celtic to sign another centre back, especially if they have European ambitions. 


Who looks stronger?

As champions in the last two SPFL Premiership campaigns, Celtic will once again go into this season as bookies favourite and after Rangers' opening day defeat to Kilmarnock, Celtic fans will be even more confident they can win their third title in a row.

Despite this, Celtic have also looked far from convincing in their first two matches, where they defeated Ross County and Aberdeen but conceded some sloppy goals in the process.

The first old firm of the season is on September 3rd and already is already shaping up to be an absolute cracker.

Should Rangers emerge victorious, it puts the pressure back on Brendan Rodgers and would give more of a voice to the Celtic fans against his return.

Should Celtic win, a six point lead, four games in is virtually unheard of in Scottish football, so it would give them a nice buffer before their rivals can get any momentum going.



Is Beale trying to change too much too quickly? Can Rodgers win over his doubters? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.


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