The key talking points ahead of Celtic’s home clash with Rangers on Sunday

The Hoops are six points clear with four games left and boast an emphatic goal difference advantage.

By Press Association Published: 30 April 2022 - 11.14am

Celtic host Rangers on Sunday on what could be a decisive afternoon in the cinch Premiership season.

The Hoops are six points clear with four games left and boast an emphatic goal difference advantage.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the main talking points ahead of the Parkhead clash.

Title party ahead?

Celtic fans
Celtic fans are gearing up for a party (Jane Barlow/PA)

Celtic would put themselves into an almost unassailable lead if they beat Rangers. Victory would put them nine points clear with three games left with a goal difference advantage of at least 21. The SPFL’s engraver would not be deployed just yet but it would take an unprecedented collapse for Celtic to lose the title from that position and their supporters will be celebrating a title success if the win comes.

Should Rangers focus on Europe?

A Rangers win would cut the gap to three points but Celtic would realistically need to slip up twice in their remaining three matches to allow the Light Blues to go ahead given the Hoops’ 19-goal advantage. Ange Postecoglou’s side host Hearts and Motherwell and travel to Dundee United in the season finale. Rangers have a bigger chance of reaching the Europa League final than winning the league given they restricted RB Leipzig to a 1-0 first-leg advantage. With the Germans visiting Ibrox on Thursday, Rangers could look to rest some players and make sure they are as fresh as possible for a rare chance to go all the way in the Europa League.

Who will start up front for Celtic?

Title party ahead? Celtic would put themselves into an almost unassailable lead if they beat Rangers. Victory would put them nine points clear with three games left with a goal difference advantage of at least 21. The SPFL's engraver would not be deployed yet but it would take an unprecedented collapse for Celtic to lose the title from that position and their supporters will be celebrating a title success if the win comes. Should Rangers focus on Europe? A Rangers win would cut the gap to three points but Celtic would realistically need to slip up twice in their remaining three matches to allow the Light Blues to go ahead given the Hoops' 19-goal advantage. Ange Postecoglou's side host Hearts and Motherwell and travel to Dundee United in the season finale. Rangers have a bigger chance of reaching the Europa League final than winning the league given they restricted RB Leipzig to a 1-0 first-leg advantage. With the Germans visiting Ibrox on Thursday, Rangers could look to rest some players and make sure they are as fresh as possible for a rare chance to go all the way in the Europa League. Kyogo/Giako Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou now has his main two strikers fully fit together for the first time after Kyogo Furuhashi marked his first start since Boxing Day with his 17th goal of the season against Ross County last weekend, and Giorgos Giakoumakis returned off the bench from a minor hamstring injury. Furuhashi was his main man in the first half of the season but Giakoumakis stepped up after the winter break after bouncing back from knee surgery after a slow start to his Celtic career when he arrived without a pre-season under his belt. Twelve of the Greek striker's 13 goals have come in 2022. Postecoglou can decide whether to utilise the penalty-box prowess and physical presence of Girakoumakis or the speed and mobility of his Japan international from the start, with Daizen Maeda another centre-forward option. Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst has a contrasting situation up front with two main strikers Alfredo Morelos and Kemar Roofe out injured. Wide players Ryan Kent and Scott Wright were given more direct attacking roles in the Europa League semi-final against RB Leipzig on Saturday with Joe Aribo employed further forward in a central position after the break. Van Bronckhorst also has the option of playing Fashion Sakala through the middle while centre-forward Cedric Itten got his first few minutes of league action since January when he came on at Motherwell last weekend. All square so far Both sides have won two derby fixtures this season. Rangers have a point to prove after a 3-0 defeat at Celtic Park in February following a one-sided first half when the hosts swept the Light Blues aside. Celtic fans were also stung by a recent Scottish Cup semi-final defeat by Rangers who prevailed despite going to extra-time for the second time in three days. Regardless of the title outcome, bragging rights are at stake.
Giorgos Giakoumakis hit the bar in Dingwall (Robert Perry/PA)

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou now has his main two strikers fully fit together for the first time after Kyogo Furuhashi marked his first start since Boxing Day with his 17th goal of the season against Ross County last weekend, and Giorgos Giakoumakis returned off the bench from a minor hamstring injury. Furuhashi was his main man in the first half of the season but Giakoumakis stepped up after the winter break after bouncing back from knee surgery following a slow start to his Celtic career when he arrived without a pre-season under his belt. Twelve of the Greek striker’s 13 goals have come in 2022. Postecoglou can decide whether to utilise the penalty-box prowess and physical presence of Giakoumakis or the speed and mobility of his Japan international from the start, with Daizen Maeda another centre-forward option.

Striking contrast

Fashion Sakala
Fashion Sakala claimed a Scottish Cup winner against Celtic (Jane Barlow/PA)

Rangers manager Giovanni Van Bronckhorst has a contrasting situation up front with two main strikers Alfredo Morelos and Kemar Roofe out injured. Wide players Ryan Kent and Scott Wright were given more direct attacking roles in the Europa League semi-final against RB Leipzig, with Joe Aribo employed further forward in a central position after the break. Van Bronckhorst also has the option of playing Fashion Sakala through the middle while centre-forward Cedric Itten got his first few minutes of league action since January when he came on at Motherwell last weekend.

All square so far

Celtic v Rangers
Celtic’s Reo Hatate scored twice against Rangers in February (PA)

Both sides have won two derby fixtures this season. Rangers have a point to prove after a 3-0 defeat at Celtic Park in February following a one-sided first half when the hosts swept the Light Blues aside. Celtic fans were also stung by a recent Scottish Cup semi-final defeat by Rangers who prevailed despite going to extra time for the second time in three days. Regardless of the title outcome, bragging rights are at stake.

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