It’s a tale as old as time, it seems. Battling for supremacy at the northern part of the British Isles, the Old Firm rivalry is finally back where it belongs: the peak of Scottish football. Both Celtic and Rangers currently occupy the top two positions in the Scottish Premiership, a position both clubs know all too well. Unlike in recent years, however, this run to the league title could be an exciting one.
Sitting atop the Scottish Premiership, Celtic are attempting to complete a famous treble-treble. Having already won the Scottish League Cup, Celtic are just a Scottish Cup and league title away from sweeping the three top competitions in Scotland for the third straight season. However, neither title is a sure thing at this stage for the Bhoys. In both the league and Scottish Cup, Celtic’s path appears to run through the Old Firm Derby.
Old Firm Derbies Key in Celtic’s Treble-Treble Chase
Currently eight points clear of second-placed Rangers in the league, Celtic will be forced to face their Old Firm rivals two more times this campaign. Hosting the Gers on March 31st, Celtic will likely be forced to play at Ibrox during the final stage of the Scottish Premiership season. Combine those two matches together and Rangers could easily pull-back six of the eight points that they currently trail Celtic by.
That said, it will be an extremely tough road for Rangers to truly reel in Celtic. Set for away matches at Hearts and Hibernian – two top-six-placed squads – Rangers must run the table in order to truly compete with Celtic.
Despite the rough appearance though, such a run is definitely not out of the question. The Gers have already defeated Hearts twice this season while also drawing with Hibernian in their two meetings this campaign. Of course, their quest will be helped along by their own recent form.
Undefeated over the course of their last six matches, Rangers have outscored their opponents by an amazing 20 goals to two. That compares amazingly well to Old Firm rival Celtic, who have only outscored their opponents by 13 goals to two over the same period. Of course, Celtic are also still reeling from a recent string of changes, including the departure of manager Brendan Rodgers as well as their elimination from the Europa League.
With all of that said, Celtic do look set to win their tenth successive league title this season. Their biggest challenge at this stage could truly be in their defence of the Scottish Cup. Already qualified for the semi-finals, Celtic will be forced to play at either Aberdeen or Rangers pending the results of the pair’s quarter-final replay.
Hosting that replay match, Rangers should come out on top. Such a result would set up a massive Old Firm Derby. For Celtic, such a match would be the toughest step in their quest for the treble-treble. Win the match and Celtic head to the Scottish Cup final; a game they will be heavily favoured to win. Defeat, however, ends the Bhoys three-year quest at making history.
While the competition may not be nearly as tough as in past years, Celtic still have a chance at making history. Winning the treble-treble, Celtic would become the greatest club in Scottish footballing history. That road, however, runs through the Old Firm Derby. With Rangers loving nothing more than defeating Celtic, the final stages of the Scottish football season promise to be an exciting one.