Stars are aligning nicely, but one mistake and it's over
photo by Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images

Stars are aligning nicely, but one mistake and it's over

It may be pointing to a Rangers win, but Steven Gerrard can’t be fooled by the stars which have aligned over the last several weeks.

As Rangers travel to Parkhead this afternoon to face Celtic, there are a few advantages the Ibrox side carry. Momentum is clearly with Gerrard’s squad ahead of the contest, and the Rangers manager will be confident of a result.

With the exception of the Europa League trip to Russia, Celtic don’t have a lot to be positive about.

A dreadful transfer window slammed shut with Brendan Rodgers’ side having sold their star-striker. Moussa Dembele left Glasgow for Lyon, and his reign of terror in this fixture is now over. It leaves Celtic with a massive gap to fill up top, and Rangers will be delighted to see the Frenchman go.

Confident Gers

Confidence was already positive at Ibrox beforehand, but Celtic have been doing their best to get Gers fans optimistic about today.

Moussa Dembele won’t be troubling Rangers anymore after Lyon move (Getty Images)

Defensive frailties also continue to haunt the Parkhead men Rangers have been clinical under Gerrard, and seem to take most chances provided to them. A leaky Celtic back-line could be in for some trouble should they fail to deal with the physical presence Rangers possess up top.

A squad weakening, Celtic are a club still trying to deal with a mini-crisis. On the other hand, Rangers continue to blitz forward with momentum and confidence.

What Gerrard must make sure, however, is that his players don’t think about any of this. Doing so and they’ll be on the end of yet another Old Firm defeat to Rodgers.

The one clear disadvantage Rangers have is their trip to Russia. A 6,000-mile round trip seen Rangers go down to nine-men and qualify for the Europa League group stages. As heroic as it was, it was energy-sapping.

Fatigue issues

A gruelling tie with Ufa could have taken it out of Rangers (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Therefore, tired legs could easily come into play in today’s contest. It’s imperative Rangers stay switched on and don’t give Celtic any encouragement.

The likes of Callum McGregor, Tom Rogic, and Odsonne Edouard have punished defensive blunders in the past. They can’t be allowed that same opportunity again.

Fortunately, Connor Goldson and Nikola Katic have been a pair of defensive warriors so far this season. This will remain their toughest test, but Rangers are safe in the knowledge their defence is much improved this season.

But it still stands that one defensive error and the hope for today could all come crumbling down.

The stars have certainly aligned nicely in recent weeks, but Rangers have to remain switched on for 90 minutes or risk a morale-draining loss.

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