Rangers v Celtic?

The fierce Glaswegian rivals meet in the Old Firm derby

Herald Scotland

Erik Sviatchenko believes calm heads in Celtic's ranks will prevail against Rangers

In a week in which there has been considerable noise, the silence from Celtic has been deafening.

As the Parkhead side prepare for their trip across the city to take on Rangers at noon on Sunday, their reticence to buy into the hype that surrounds the encounter has been notable.

In a fixture that carries particular notoriety under any circumstances, the fact that there exists just six points between the teams at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership table - excusing consideration of the game in hand Celtic have - has lent an edge to the game that hasn't been evident in a league meeting since Rangers' liquidation in 2012.

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Rangers v Celtic: Old Firm Frenemies

By Daniel J. McLaughlin

They are the two most successful football clubs in Scotland. Between them, Celtic and Rangers hold 102 Scottish Championships, 70 Scottish Cups and 43 Scottish League Cups.

Although Rangers have more victories in football's fiercest derby, the last time they were victorious over Celtic was in the 2011/2012 season, before the Gers dropped into the Scottish Third Division. The Ibrox side have risen back up to the Scottish Premiership, achieving promotion in three out of four seasons, and are hoping to challenge for the title once again.

However, statistics often prove fruitless in the Old Firm derby. It is unknown where the name originates from, but early commentators would refer to their meetings as "old, firm friends". As political and religious divisions grew in Scotland, with Catholics associated with Celtic and Protestants associated with Rangers, the old, firm friends turned into old, firm enemies.

They have encountered each other in 410 meetings over the last 128 years. Rangers have clinched victory 160 times over the years, compared to Celtic's 152 - and 98 have ended in a stalemate. This season, the Bhoys have beaten their Glaswegian rivals once and were held to a draw in both games at Celtic Park.

Celtic have been the most dominant Scottish side of late, winning six successive league titles and recorded their fourth ever domestic treble under Brendan Rodgers last season. By the end of the 2016/17 season, there were 39 points separating the two Glaswegian sides. The gap is narrower with Celtic topping the Scottish Premiership with 64 points - Rangers are catching up in second place, six points behind their rivals.

Since their 0-0 draw at Celtic Park in December, Rangers' form has been promising - and for the first time in years, a victory looks possible. Graeme Murty's side have won nine out of their last 10 games, bagging 33 goals along the way. Celtic, meanwhile, have won eight of their last 11 games, hitting the back of the net 20 times. Murty will be hoping to overcome his two predecessors' form against the Scottish champions, with both Mark Warburton and Pedro Caixinha recording 5-1 defeats.

Rangers face Celtic in the Old Firm Derby at the Ibrox Stadium today (K.O. 12noon). They will face each other again in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup. The semi-finals will be played on the weekend of April 14 and April 15.

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Herald Scotland

David Bates confident he can help Rangers extend Celtic striker Moussa Dembele's barren Old Firm run

DAVID Bates is confident he can help Rangers extend Moussa Dembele's barren run in Old Firm games to five at Ibrox on Sunday and record their first Ladbrokes Premiership win over their Glasgow rivals in nearly six years.

Bates, who came off the bench to help Graeme Murty's men earn a deserved 0-0 at Parkhead back in December, looks certain to start alongside either Bruno Alves or Russell Martin, if he recovers from a back injury, this weekend.

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