NOTHING will be won or lost in terms of the Premiership title on Saturday but the first Old Firm fixture of the campaign will be a telling affair. In many ways, there is more at stake for Rangers than there is for a Celtic side aiming to move five points clear at the top of the table.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst will hope that it is third time lucky as he attempts to win as a manager at Parkhead but the Dutchman has plenty to ponder as he seeks to replicate the Hampden heroics last term and overcome Ange Postecoglou's side.

The Ibrox boss has selection and tactical issues to ponder. Here, Herald and Times Sport assesses how Rangers will line-up and approach what can already be considered a must not lose Old Firm fixture.


There is no debate now over the goalkeeping position and Jon McLaughlin will return to the side after being rested for the win over Queen of the South in midweek. The gloves are very much his these days.

If Van Bronckhorst had a fully fit squad to choose from then he might have had decisions to make at the back but two of the four spots - those occupied by James Tavernier and Connor Goldson - are secure and it would be a surprise if Ridvan Yilmaz gets the nod over Borna Barisic. The position alongside Goldson will go to James Sands as Leon King drops to the bench.

The absences of Ben Davies and John Souttar continue to prove problematic and it remains to be seen when Van Bronckhorst will be able to call on both and start putting a settled defensive unit on the park more often than not.

Rangers have been vulnerable from set-pieces so far this term and their defensive weaknesses have been exposed. If the individual and collective issues are not resolved, it could be a difficult afternoon against a Celtic attack that cause problems from all angles and carry a real goal threat.


The personnel in the central areas will speak volumes. The approach at home to Ross County last weekend was one that supporters had been calling for as Rangers played with more attacking intent but a return to a conservative, safety first blueprint seems likely and Van Bronckhorst is not one to take unnecessary risks in occasions of this stature.

John Lundstram is an obvious starter and there is an expectation and requirement on him to produce another big game performance. The Scouser is the driving force from midfield and his combative edge will be crucial if Rangers are to win the battle against Callum McGregor and Co.

It will be interesting to see who partners him and rumours over Tom Lawrence's injury status will place extra emphasis on Malik Tillman to be a creative influence. The blueprint from Eindhoven is one that Van Bronckhorst will surely follow if he can.

Glen Kamara was pivotal last midweek and seems more likely to get a spot than Steven Davis or Ryan Jack. A second more defensive-minded operator would suit Van Bronckhorst's natural mindset and it is hard to see Rangers being too adventurous with their midfield selection.


A solid midfield base would give Tillman the chance to really assert himself on the Old Firm fixture and another summer signing will have a big part to play as Antonio Colak gets set to lead the line against Celtic for the first time.

Van Bronckhorst has offered an olive branch to Alfredo Morelos but starting the Colombian would be a strange call given events of recent weeks and Colak's fine scoring form. The man who secured Champions League football can now fire Rangers into pole position in the title race.

On the left, Ryan Kent can be a big game player. Criticisms over his goal record rightly surround him but that role in the side will be his and there would be no better time to produce his finest showing of the season than on Saturday afternoon.

The other flank remains an issue for Rangers. Given that he was rested against Queens, Scott Wright is seemingly in line to start, but the winger has a point to prove and has yet to show that he can operate at the level required for such a fixture.