Rangers are preparing to face off against Celtic at Ibrox in what promises to be one of the biggest and most important Old Firm clashes in a generation.
If Rangers can make it 14 straight Scottish Premiership wins on the bounce they will stretch out a 19 point lead in the title race with Celtic effectively needing to haul back a 10-point advantage.
Even at the halfway point in the season that looks a pretty unassailable lead but there will be no-one at Ibrox getting ahead of themselves before both hands are on the trophy.
Celtic, conversely, know that a victory is essential to reignite their title hopes with even a draw leaving them languishing seven points behind Rangers with only two Old Firms to go.
Unless they can beat us on our own patch, the league season will be entirely in our hands.
So the big dilemma for Steven Gerrard concerns who to start in this mouth-watering table-topping clash as injuries and form raise questions about the starting XI.
Ibrox pair Ryan Jack and Scott Arfield – two all but guaranteed starters – will miss this clash through injury meaning someone else will need to step up and provide the same bite as these two.
At the back, the returning Filip Helander was impressive against St. Mirren but Nigerian international Leon Balogun is a pacey presence who offers Rangers a bit more freedom from the back.
Up top too, Gerrard has a dilemma over whether to start an out-of-sorts Ryan Kent or hand an Old Firm opportunity to the recently impressive Ianis Hagi.
It’s a dilemma clearly on the forefront of Steven Gerrard’s mind [Rangers].
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) December 30, 2020
Here, we pick the XI which we think is the strongest and Gerrard’s best for taking full points off our Glasgow rivals and being honest, we can’t see any surprises.
Helander gets the nod over Balogun, Davis, Kamara and Aribo continue in midfield, and £7m man Ryan Kent is given the opportunity to be the man of the moment up top.