Talking points ahead of the final Old Firm clash of the season

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Rangers’ Ryan Kent (left) clashed with Celtic’s Scott Brown at Parkhead the last time the bitter rivals faced off (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Rangers and Celtic square off in the final Old Firm showdown of the season on Sunday.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at the big talking points ahead of the Ibrox clash.

Rangers drop their guard

A host of former players have lined up to debate whether Gers should afford their bitter foes a guard of honour in the wake of Celtic clinching their eighth straight title. Pundit and ex-Celtic striker Chris Sutton sparked the row when he called on Steven Gerrard’s team to do “the right thing”. But former Ibrox hero Alex Rae dismissed the notion as he claimed the Hoops faithful would use the sight of the Rangers squad clapping out their bitter rivals to “rub it in”. It seems the Light Blues board agreed after telling Gerrard’s team on no account should they line up to applaud the Parkhead side out before kick-off.

Gerrard’s Defoe dilemma

Rangers have a big decision on whether to go with Jermain Defoe (left) or Alfredo Morelos against Celtic
Rangers have a big decision on whether to go with Jermain Defoe (left) or Alfredo Morelos against Celtic (Jeff Holmes/PA)

The Rangers boss has a major decision to make on who he starts with up front. Jermain Defoe is the man currently in possession of the jersey with three goals in his last five games. But in Alfredo Morelos, he also has the league’s 29-goal top-scorer – yet the Colombian’s troublesome temper has proved uncontrollable so far this season. The 22-year-old proved to be a liability the last time he squared up to the Hoops as he collected his fifth red card of the season when he threw an elbow at Scott Brown. But, if the Light Blues are to cash in on their most valuable asset this summer, they could do with him finally making a big mark against the champions having failed to find the net in his eight derby appearances so far.

Dodgy discipline

Neil Lennon stoked up the mind games ahead of his side’s trip to Ibrox by claiming the home side have got a “huge disciplinary problem”. In fairness to the Northern Irishman, he has got a point after seeing Rangers clock up 12 red cards this season. Gerrard has ordered his men to be on their best behaviour after they were made to play a man light for almost an hour after Morelos’ Celtic Park dismissal back in March – but Lennon has warned his team will be ready to “take advantage” if the hosts step out of line again.

Cup Final concerns

Celtic duo Kieran Tierney (left) and James Forrest might be considered for a rest on Sunday as the Hoops eye up the triple treble
Celtic duo Kieran Tierney (left) and James Forrest might be considered for a rest on Sunday as the Hoops eye up the triple treble (Andrew Milligan/PA)

No Old Firm game can ever be described as meaningless but with the title already in the bag it is fair to say Celtic may have to prioritise the trip to Ibrox behind this month’s William Hill Scottish Cup final. The Hoops can clinch a historic triple treble with victory over Hearts at Hampden and with that in mind it would be wise to spare anyone carrying bumps and bruises from action at Ibrox. Kieran Tierney requires a double hernia operation and is rated as just 70 per cent fit by his manager, so Emilio Izaguirre might come in at left-back, while James Forrest may be another who gets a rest after sitting out training on Friday.

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