Celtic vs Rangers: Picking a Combined XI Ahead of the Old Firm Derby

Nikola Katic, Odsonne Edouard
Celtic and Rangers meet again for the Old Firm derby | Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

While Scottish football rarely generates much foreign interest, there is one fixture that always attracts attention: the Old Firm derby. Fiery, passionate, and full of drama, the Old Firm has it all.

Celtic and Rangers meet for the first time this season, with both sides in fine form. The hosts are the leading goalscorers in the division, while the Gers boast the sternest defence. Neither side has lost a league game this season, so it should be interesting to see how this one pans out.

Anyway, without any further ado, here's our combined XI ahead of Saturday's fixture.

1. Goalkeeper and Defenders

James Tavernier
Tavernier is a highly productive full-back | Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Vasilis Barkas (GK) - Signed from AEK Athens to replace the outgoing Fraser Forster, Vasilis Barkas has made a strong start to his Celtic career, keeping eight clean sheets out of 12 in all competitions.

James Tavernier (RB) - Tavernier is a right-back, but you'd be forgiven for thinking he was an attacking midfielder if you looked at his statistics. The Englishman already has five goals and three assists in ten league outings this season, and has a strike rate of better than one in five since joining the Teddy Bears.

Shane Duffy (CB) - Former Brighton Player of the Year Shane Duffy has enjoyed an encouraging beginning to his time at Celtic Park, scoring twice and conceding just three in his opening seven games.

Christopher Jullien (CB) - Given how impenetrable their defence has been, it may seem harsh to not select a Rangers centre-back. However, it is difficult to ignore the former Toulouse man, who has been immense for the Bhoys since signing in 2019.

Borna Barisic (LB) - Last time these two met, Barisic was the standout performer, assisting twice as Rangers secured a 2-1 victory at Celtic Park.

2. Midfielders

Scott Brown
Brown relishes these sorts of games | Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Ryan Jack (CM) - The 28-year-old has been a hit at Ibrox since signing from Aberdeen in 2017, becoming the most recent recipient of the Rangers Player of the Year award.

Scott Brown (CM) - In an intense game like this one, players like Scott Brown are always useful. He may not be the most glamorous midfielder, but his grit, determination, and leadership are a great reason why Celtic have dominated the Scottish Premiership for so long.

Callum McGregor (CM) - Main creator Ryan Christie is set to miss out this weekend, so it could be up to fellow Scotsman Callum McGregor to provide some creative spark. McGregor has scored two and assisted as many so far this campaign.

Ianis Hagi (RM) - The Romanian - son of legend Gheorghe Hagi - has been deployed on both wings and centrally by manager Steven Gerrard this season. He currently leads the Scottish league assist charts, having created five goals.

Ryan Kent (LM) - The former Liverpool youngster is currently the division's joint-fifth top scorer, finding the net four times. Kent opened the scoring in the last Old Firm derby back in December.

3. Forward

Alfredo Morelos
The Colombian is Rangers' talisman | Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Alfredo Morelos (ST) - With Odsonne Edouard and Albian Ajeti both sidelined on Saturday, Alfredo Morelos is the obvious choice for the striker spot. The Colombian has bagged 82 goals for Rangers in 149 outings. However, he is yet to have any joy against Celtic, failing to score in 12 fixtures vs. the Bhoys while getting sent off twice.