No love lost between these two.
For all of their financial woes and troubles on and off the park in Europe, Rangers remain unbeaten in the SPL and head to Aberdeen looking to extend their lead. Yet again, the TV scheduling has enabled Rangers to kick-off before Celtic and an away win will heap even more pressure on Celtic boss Tony Mowbray.
Rangers haven’t had the best of times at Pittodrie of late, a ground where the home fans have no love for the Royal Blues. No doubt the usual moans that Aberdeen lie down to Celtic and only play against Rangers will be heard from the away support but as usual, the facts of the matter don’t back this up. A 4-2 win over Celtic at Pittodrie at the start of the year was a catalyst in the wheels falling off the Parkhead bandwagon, which allowed Rangers to take the title
A 0-0 draw at Ibrox was the score the last time these two met this season and a draw would not be out of the question again.
Rangers have to bounce back from even more European disappointment but have a threadbare squad to reshuffle. As Madjid Bougherra suffers passport problems / attitude problems / nears 50 appearances (delete as applicable depending on your viewpoint), Walter Smith is likely to be without the Algerian yet again. The father and son pairing of Davie Weir and Danny Wilson will face up to an Aberdeen team whose best chance of success comes from Charlie Mulgrew.
Rangers recognised this back in May with Kyle Lafferty going out of his way to get the full-back sent off early on and if the Northern Irish international features for Rangers, expect him to receive a torrent of abuse.
The jokes and comments about Jerome Rothen missing out because of swine flu write themselves but Steven Naismith should be fit to return to the Rangers line-up. Aberdeen have more absences to contend with as Gary McDonald is suspended whilst Diamond, Aluko and Fraser Fyvie are all unavailable.
On paper, Rangers should have enough in their locker to take care of Aberdeen but there is no longer the feeling of invincibility over the big two from Glasgow. Away games are becoming increasingly difficult for both Celtic and Rangers, and the champions have only won half of their away league games in the league so far.
Two wins and two draws can be attributed to having only played a small number of away fixtures so far but with their next two league games away from Ibrox this imbalance will correct itself and Walter Smith and co should get a better idea of their current form.