59 min: Tavernier whips a ball in from the right, again it’s Starfelt who heads away but this time the ball drops for Davis on the edge of the box. The ball just bounces awkwardly for him and his first-time effort floats well over. A little better from Rangers that – you got the sense they were beginning to run out of ideas.
57 min: Kent gets across Ralston but can’t make contact with the cross from the right.
56 min: That seems to be the problem for Rangers – they’ve had 10 minutes of dominance without really creating a chance, yet Celtic make one as soon as they break forward.
55 min: And, just like that, Celtic should be two up. Hatate’s ball into the box breaks loose to Maeda, 15 yards out, but he blazes his effort over the bar.
54 min: … Sakala climbs highest but nods well over the bar. It’s all Rangers so far this half.
53 min: Barisic plops a cross into the area and Sakala is denied by Starfelt. Corner to Rangers …
52 min: Carter-Vickers just gets to the ball first in front of Aribo and the pair take a while to gingerly get back to their feet.
50 min: Ralston is late on Arfield in the middle of the pitch as the ball bounces loose. He goes into the book.
48 min: Sakala is caught offside as Rangers threaten once more.
47 min: … the ball drops on the penalty spot and Goldson swivels … but launches his effort over the bar.
46 min: As they did in the first half, Rangers begin on the front foot. Carter-Vickers skews a clearance out for a corner …
Peep! Off we go again.
Rangers are out a good couple of minutes before Celtic for the second half …
Peep! Peeeeep!! And there it is. An even half really, but Celtic look to have much more quality in attack and that’s the difference so far.
43 min: Furuhashi whips his effort wide from range. Rangers could do with the half-time whistle here.
41 min: What a chance! Maeda should nod home but has one eye on the Rangers goalkeeper and timidly glances wide from close range. “The old tortoise neck,” says Ally McCoist on commentary.
40 min: Rangers haven’t really created a thing since the opening 15 minutes.
38 min: Tavernier swings in a couple of corners from the Rangers right, both a bit deep and aimless.
36 min: … O’Riley’s corner drops dangerously but Celtic can’t take advantage.
35 min: Jota and Hatate combine down the left to earn a corner …
33 min: Taylor overhits his cross after Jota’s deft touch and pass had put the left-back into space. Definite lack of precision in attacking areas from both sides thus far.
32 min: Chance! It’s Jota again, flying in for a header which he steers yards over the bar when he really should have done better.
30 min: Having dispossessed Taviernier, Jota holds it, holds it, holds it, when he should find a teammate and the opportunity disappears.
28 min: Hart draws his manager’s ire after thunking a clearance out of play.
26 min: Tavernier is allowed to stride forward down the Rangers right … but O’Riley gets back to intercept his (weak) pass in the direction of Kent.
25 min: The battle fever is back. Celtic are haring around after their opponents now. Rangers reeling a little.
22 min: Rangers will be furious with themselves – that was far too easy. And the visitors had probably edged the opening quarter. A collective switching-off and Celtic more than good enough to take advantage. Parkhead is rocking.
Out of nowhere, Celtic take the lead! Maeda drifts inside from the left to find … yards of space. He shuffles into the box, past Goldson and fires the ball across. Jota is steaming in from the right and gets across Barisic to volley home.
19 min: Furuhashi puts Bassey under pressure as Celtic look to get their misfiring mojo going …
18 min: It’s all settled down a bit now, that early frenzied pace giving way to a bit of sedate possession football from both sides.
15 min: Kent thunders an effort towards goal from distance but it’s straight at Hart.
13 min: Just wide! Lundstram and Davis are bossing midfield at the moment – the former wins the ball, the latter finds Arfield on the right. Kent is cutting in from the left to meet his cross and gets there in front of Ralston, but his volleyed effort is clipped a yard wide. Great chance.
12 min: … whipped in by O’Riley but Lundstram heads clear.
11 min: A first proper attack for Celtic. Jota looks to clip the ball in from the right but a deflection earns a corner …
9 min: Kyogo Furuhashi clips Lundstram as the Rangers man looks to sweep a ball out to the right. The referee keeps his cards in his pocket. For now.
7 min: Maeda looks to burst forward after Sakala’s loose pass but he too is crowded out. All a bit shapeless at the moment.
6 min: Lundstrum charges forward down the right but Aribo can’t squeeze past Carter-Vickers in the middle to get on the end of the cross.
5 min: Celtic have settled a touch but Rangers are pressing the centre-backs pretty effectively and denying the home side time on the ball.
4 min: “Oh no, not you again, you illiterate numpty,” chuckles Norrie Hernon. “Apologies if I’m the only/837th to make this joke.” My therapist is going to be earning his money this week.
3 min: Aribo has started through the middle for Rangers, with Sakala on the right and Kent on the left. The latter scampers clear but is hampered by Barisic, whose charging run forward is ill-judged. The visitors have been the better side in these early skirmishes though.
2 min: A frenetic, scrappy start as you might expect.
Peep! Rangers get things under way in bright Glasgow sunshine.
Out come the players into the Parkhead cauldron. John Terry is in the stands wearing a Celtic scarf, and Rod Stewart is there too. Do Rangers have Reason To Believe, or is Tonight The Night for a Celtic party?
A pre-match email: “Quick question for you,” begins Phil Withall. “I’ve always wondered about the contents of the inbox during highly charged matches such as this one. I imagine there is a lot of vitriol, pettiness and outright abuse. How do you, and your fellow MBM reporters, deal with it?”
The Angry Types seem to stick with social media these days rather than target the MBM inbox. It wasn’t always the case: during one Ashes series in Australia many, many years ago that I was OBOing from London, I would log on at 2am or whatever and every day without fail the same person would email me with variations of “Oh, not you again, you illiterate numpty”. Obviously I dealt with it by burying my feelings deep down and only occasionally letting it torment me a decade later.
Those teams again, in text form this time:
Celtic (4-3-3 probable): Hart; Ralston, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor; O’Riley, McGregor, Hatate; Jota, Furuhashi, Maeda. Subs: Bitton, Giakoumakis, Abada, Turnbull, McCarthy, Rogic, Bain, Forrest, Welsh.
Rangers (4-3-1-2 probable): McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Bassey, Barisic; Lundstram, Davis, Arfield; Aribo; Sakala, Kent. Subs: Jack, Diallo, Itten, Kamara, Sands, Wright, McLaughlin, Lowry, King.
Referee: John Beaton
Some pre-match reading: here’s Ewan Murray on today’s game and the bigger picture in the Premiership.
Hello and welcome to minute-by-minute coverage of the fifth and final Old Firm debry of the 2021-22 season and the third meeting between these sides in under a month. Rangers got the better of their neighbours in the cup last time out, but Celtic won the league tie at Ibrox at the start of April and can effectively seal the Scottish Premiership title with a win today.
Celtic lead Rangers by six points with four games remaining, so though a Rangers win today would delay the coronation, the blue half of Glasgow would still need Celtic to drop points in two of their last three games if they are to deny their rivals a 10th title in 11 years.
Kick off is at 12noon BST.