Ange Postecoglou prepares for what will be biggest home game of this 2021-22 Scottish Premiership season, the Old Firm Derby taking place mid-week.
The race for the Scottish Premiership is heading up, with two points separating Celtic and Rangers. This mid-week's Old Firm Derby could see Celtic head coach Ange Postecoglou's side reach the top of the league for the first time this season.
Celtic - Rangers Old Firm Derby
- This mid-week's Old Firm Derby is taking place at Celtic Park.
- It is the second of three derbies this year, the last scheduled for April 3, 2022.
- Currently separated by two points, a win would put Celtic FC atop the Scottish Premiership.
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Ranger's draw last weekend, their second of 2022, combined with Celtic's perfect start to the new year has brought the number one and two Scottish Premiership placed teams within two points of one another. They next face each other mid-week for the Old Firm Derby.
It has been more than two years since Celtic beat their biggest rivals. Rangers have also been top of the Scottish Premiership in all but three rounds of this year's competition, with Celtic's highest placement being their current one, second in the ladder.
This week's Old Firm Derby is therefore doubly important for Celtic, not only for the Bhoys to once again be victorious in Glasgow but also to reach the top of the league. With the match taking place at home at Celtic Park, this will give Postecoglou's squad a home side advantage.
In the pre-match press conference, Postecoglou spoke of the importance of the game ahead:
"It is important particularly for our supporters because there is no doubting this is a fixture they look forward to, particularly at home.
"They want to have an enjoyable night and that means us performing well and us winning.
"It is an important game for us and this football club for a number of reasons.
"One, most importantly, it is an important game for our supporters.
"Secondly, we have a chance to go top and climb up a position which will be good."
With attendance caps having been lifted mid-January, 60,411 Scottish fans could be present at Celtic Park for the stadium's biggest game of the year.
"I am looking forward to it (to a full house of Celtic supporters)," said Postecoglou. "They were noisy the other night, it should be great.
"Our supporters got denied the chance of watching the derby last year and at the beginning of this year.
"Having a full Celtic Park rocking tomorrow night will be great."
Both Postecoglou's Celtic and Giovanni van Bronckhorst's Rangers are missing key players going into the match due to injuries and recent international duty. Daizen Maeda, Kyogo Furuhashi, Ianis Hagi and Alfredo Morelos are all expected to be absent.
Socceroo Tom Rogic will also not be available for the big clash. The midfield maestro played on Tuesday afternoon (UK time) in Australia's World Cup qualifying match against Oman. Postecoglou stated during the pre-match press conference that the turnaround to Wednesday evening's game (UK Time) ruled him out.
The missing contingents aside, regardless of if Celtic can continue their 2022 form or Rangers turn around this calendar year's inconsistencies, the 90 minutes at Celtic Park should prove to be a lively contest.
The game will be taking place on Wednesday, February 2, 2022 at 19:45pm local, (Thursday, February 3, 2022 at 6:45 am AEDT).
The Scottish Premiership is broadcast on BeIN Sports in Australia.