Celtic vs Rangers Prediction: Combined Old Firm XI
Celtic and Rangers lock horns at Hampden Park in the final of the Betfred Cup on Sunday, as both the Old Firm giants look to get their hands on the first piece of silverware for the season.
It is the first time that the two powerhouses of Scottish football are going to meet each other in a cup final since Rangers’ 2-1 victory over the Hoops in the League Cup way back in 2011.
Neil Lennon’s side beat the Gers 2-0 in the first Old Firm derby of the season at Ibrox back in September, and the ‘Treble treble’ winners will head into the League Cup final on Sunday in high spirits after Rangers lost valuable ground in the title race following a 2-2 draw against Aberdeen on Wednesday.
Here’s the combined Old Firm XI featuring 5 Celtic and 6 Rangers stars ahead of the Betfred Cup final at Hampden Park on Sunday:
Combined Celtic-Rangers XI
Allan McGregor (GK)
The 37-year-old has been in stunning form between the sticks for Rangers this season and while Fraser Forster too has put in some splendid displays, it would be fair to say that the veteran has been called into action way more often as compared to his counterpart.
James Tavernier (RB)
The Rangers captain is undoubtedly the best right-back in the entire division and few would have any arguments regarding that. Tavernier has somewhat blown hot and cold this season but he has shown signs of getting back to his best and that is a major boost for the Gers heading into the cup final.
Christopher Jullien (CB)
Question marks were raised when Celtic splashed out a staggering £7million to sign him in the summer but the Frenchman has proven himself to be worth every penny.
Jullien’s commanding displays have somewhat been reminiscent of Virgil van Dijk’s stint at Parkhead and he is definitely a sure pick for Sunday’s combined XI.
Kristoffer Ajer (CB)
The Norwegian has established himself as a sure starter in the heart of the defence for the Hoops this term and he has certainly done way better than the likes of Connor Goldson and Filip Helander.
Borna Barisic (LB)
The Croatian had been written off by many following his disappointing debut season at Ibrox last term but he has made jaws drop with his incredible resurgence this season, with his pinpoint deliveries from the left flank a key part of Rangers’ dynamics.
Scott Brown (CDM)
An old warhorse of several Old Firm clashes, it’s hard to imagine a combined XI without him in the middle even when he is at the autumn of his career at 34.
Brown has continued to be one of the first names on Lennon’s team sheet this season and his injury-time winner against Hamilton on Wednesday was a clear warning sent to the Gers ahead of Sunday’s final.
Ryan Jack (CDM)
Central midfield is an area where both teams have plenty of quality and it’s former Aberdeen man Jack who gets the nod in the combined XI due to his impressive run of form this season.
With Jack beginning to add a lot of goals and assists to his game, he is certainly a player to watch out for on Sunday. It’s always hard to leave Callum McGregor out but one does get the feeling that he has been outperformed by the likes of Jack and Davis this term.
James Forrest (RW)
Arguably the most consistent winger in the Scottish Premiership over the good part of the decade, the Celtic academy graduate is a sure pick for the combined Old Firm XI.
The number of goals and assists that he has accumulated over the years is quite astonishing and he could once again make all the difference on Sunday.
Ryan Christie (CAM)
Christie has been quite remarkable for Celtic this term and an overall tally of 16 goals and 10 assists in 28 appearances is certainly eye-watering for someone who is a No.10 by trade.
Rangers don’t have an out-and-out No.10 in their ranks, and while Joe Aribo might fall within that bracket, the Nigerian hasn’t been anywhere close to matching Christie’s brilliance.
Ryan Kent (LW)
Having completed a big-money permanent move from Liverpool back in the summer, Kent hasn’t really hit top gear due to his struggles with injuries.
However, he continues to be a potent threat for the Gers heading into Sunday’s clash and his brace against Hamilton last month was a timely reminder of his pedigree at this level.
Alfredo Morelos (ST)
This is the most decisive pick of the combined Old Firm XI and it’s the Colombian who gets the nod ahead of Odsonne Edouard.
Morelos, who has scored 25 goals in all competitions already, is way ahead of the Frenchman when it comes to the number of goals scored this season. Edouard, of course, is a better all-round playmaking forward but the Colombian talisman has just been simply unstoppable this season.
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Ideally, picking both Morelos and Edouard in the combined XI in a 4-4-2 formation would have looked good on paper, albeit it wouldn’t have made much sense in footballing terms.