The Old Firm will be back on the pitch for the 398th time as Rangers and Celtic renew their age-old Scottish Premier League rivalry at Ibrox Stadium on Sunday. The Gers have dropped their last two matches to Hearts and Dundee United, both by 2-1 margins, while the Hoops, having already sewn up the league title, were most upended in the Scottish Communities Cup final by Kilmarnock.
Celtic took the last meeting between these two back in December but still trails in the all-time series, 144-158-95.
Where: Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow, Scotland
When: Sunday, March 25th at 8 a.m. ET
Watch: FOX Soccer Channel, Ma Chaine Sport, Sport 1 Hungary, One Sport, Sport TV4, Orange Sport Poland, SportKlub Slovenia
Live Stream: FOX Soccer 2 Go
Most Important Player to Watch: Gary Hooper
It's only fitting that Gary Hooper would be the Hoops' best player. The 24-year-old striker leads the SPL with 16 goals along with six assists in his second season in Glasgow.
Not surprisingly, Hooper's had his fair share of success against the Light Blues, with four goals in eight career appearances in the Old Firm.
Key Matchup: Hooper vs. Carlos Bocanegra
An Englishman and an American battling on Scottish soil? Why not? Rangers will need Bocanegra, the squad's vice-captain, to anchor the back line's efforts against Hooper and a Celtic attack that's put through an SPL-best 62 goals this season.
What They're Saying
Both clubs find themselves approaching massive flux ahead of the latest Old Firm fixture. Rangers are currently in the process of collecting bids for sale and have lost three of their four matches since being forced into administration last month. Said Light Blues striker David Healy of the upcoming match:
"It's going to be a tough challenge and it's always a big game, the Old Firm. I know everybody here is looking forward to it and Celtic will be looking to bounce back after their disappointment in the [Scottish Communities League] Cup final.
"They have got a good squad and good players, players that can hurt you, but come Sunday hopefully we will have done enough during the week to know how we can go out and get the right result."
Meanwhile, Celtic's attempts to move up the food chain of football in the British Isles have already been thwarted. The Hoops had hoped slip into English football by way of League One, but were struck down by Football League chairman Greg Clarke, who said of the proposed move:
"We have absolutely no intention of having any discussions with any club from another national league regarding membership of our competition.
"This would be highly disrespectful to the Scottish FA and Scottish Premier League and will not be countenanced by the Football League."
Prediction: Celtic 2, Rangers 1
Neither club has been on a particularly strong run of form of late, though, with this being Celtic's year, expect the Hoops to claim the rubber match from Rangers this weekend.