RANGERS go into Sunday’s Old Firm fixture as underdogs but will be feeling more confident travelling to Glasgow’s east end than they have previously, having won the last derby 1-0 at Ibrox. Steven Gerrard’s side will also undoubtedly benefit from the fact that since Brendan Rodgers left Celtic, the Scottish champions haven’t looked quite as all-conquering as they have over the last few seasons.

Neil Lennon’s team will still be the favourites and Rangers will need to be at their best to leave Parkhead with all three points. It’s a difficult task, for sure, but not an impossible one. With that in mind, we’ve taken a look at certain areas of the pitch that Rangers can look to exploit and get the upper hand over the home side.

It is absolutely vital that Gerrard sets his team out in the right shape and style of play if the visitors are to record a win at a venue that has been far from a happy hunting ground in recent seasons. There have been three games where Lennon’s Celtic have looked a little vulnerable so far; the 1-0 win over Dundee earlier in the month, the 0-0 stalemate with Aberdeen at Celtic Park and the 2-1 win over Hearts in Lennon’s first game back at the club. These are the games Gerrard and his backroom staff must analyse to see where Celtic can be got at.

Obviously, Celtic won two of these matches so any criticism of the performance must be taken with a pinch of salt. At the same time, in both of these wins Celtic laboured and didn’t reach the level of performance that they were averaging under Rodgers earlier in the season. Under Lennon, there are areas of the pitch where Celtic look noticeably worse off despite having the same personnel to choose from.

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In all three of the aforementioned games, the opposition played with plenty of men behind the ball and this is an approach Gerrard must adopt if his team are to be successful on Sunday. Having five or six players constantly behind the ball and sitting deep is a must if Rangers are to shut Celtic out, and maintaining a solid shape out of possession will be of utmost importance.

Under Lennon, Celtic have been attempting far more crosses than they did under his predecessor so having defenders who are strong in the air will be highly important during Sunday’s clash. For this reason, Gerrard should start Croatian centre back Nikola Katic alongside Connor Goldson in the heart of the Rangers defence.

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The 22-year-old has featured sporadically for Rangers since joining Ibrox last summer but the towering centre half is suited perfectly for Sunday’s derby. The defender has at times looked a bit dodgy with the ball at his feet, but this is unlikely to happen too much at Parkhead. However, Rangers will desperately require someone in the backline who is dominant in the air, and Katic is certainly that.

Katic wins 67% of his headers for Rangers: no other player at the club is as effective in the air. In a match where Celtic are likely to be peppering the Rangers box with cross after cross, having a defender who is effective at winning headers is crucial.

Gerrard parked the bus during his first visit to Celtic Park as manager back in September and while the Rangers defence performed admirably at restricting opportunities for their rivals, there was a noticeable lack of attacking threat that meant the result was rarely in doubt. Defensively, Rangers must be content to sit behind the ball but during transitions, they must be quick to break forward.

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Gerrard has the players at his disposal to play in such a fashion. Glen Kamara must be an automatic pick for the ex-Liverpool captain, given his fantastic ability to distribute the ball, particularly over long distances. The Finnish internationalist has one of the highest success rates in the Premiership when it comes to balls into the final third and Rangers will rely heavily on his eye for a pass when counter-attacking at pace.

Just as having someone in the matchday squad capable of releasing players on the counter will be of utmost importance to Gerrard, so too will Rangers need someone capable of getting on the end of Kamara’s balls forward to drive at the home defence. This is where Ryan Kent is the Ibrox club’s most effective performer and Rangers will need a good performance from the on-loan winger if they’re to get a result.

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Kent performed admirably in the match at Ibrox in December and right-back is certainly an area where Celtic look a little vulnerable. Jeremy Toljan was brought in January to tighten up the defence but has failed to nail down a spot in the first team, so Lennon is likely to rely on Mikael Lustig to fill in on the right side of defence. The Sweden internationalist can look uncomfortable when a winger drives at him with the ball - as Kent did at Ibrox - and Gerrard will be hoping for a repeat performance from the English winger.

If Rangers are to leave Celtic Park with a win then a number of things will need to happen. They’ll need to hope for an off-day from the champions, while at the same time playing to the best of their ability. In all honesty, if Celtic turn up and play as well as they can, then it is difficult to envisage anything other than a win for Lennon’s side. But if Rangers can remain solid at the back, quick in transition and clinical in attack, then they could be able to record their first victory at Parkhead in years. Gerrard has the players available to him to pull off an upset; whether or not they actually can remains to be seen.