Sunday is a day of finals for followers of football in the United Kingdom, with both the EFL Cup and Scottish League Cup decided at Wembley and Hampden, respectively. We preview both games on this site, bringing our readers up to speed with the latest form, injury news, and the all-important head-to-head scores. Our team of football writers aims to arm readers with all the information they need to make a strong prediction on how the finals might play out. On this page, we focus on matters in Glasgow where there’s a prickly Old Firm Derby scheduled from 15:00.
Rangers are the competition’s most successful side, and by a comfortable margin too. But it has been over a decade since the Gers last got their hands on this trophy, and, in that time, fans have watched on in dismay as Celtic have closed the gap. The Bhoys beat Hibs in last season’s League Cup final at the home of the Scottish national team after the club from Edinburgh eliminated Gers in the semi-finals just days after former manager Steven Gerrard had left for Aston Villa. The light blues did win the Scottish Cup here last spring and head into this game in high spirits.
Michael Beale is now the permanent boss of Rangers, and he’d love to get off to a flyer by winning the first piece of silverware available since his reign began. The head-to-head stats associated with this fixture show Rangers have beaten Celtic more times than they’ve lost to the Hoops in all competitions. But the sides are locked on 24 wins each and two draws in this tournament. There’s little to separate the teams and that makes trying to predict the winner even more interesting to armchair fans and neutrals. We aim to help you choose the winner and ramp up your enjoyment of a game that’s already set to be a thriller.
Rangers down the Dons
Rangers reach the final of the League Cup for the first time since the 2019/20 season when they lost 1-0 in controversial circumstances to Sunday’s opponents. The Gers were the better team on that occasion, but a missed penalty from Alfredo Morelos and an offside goal from the Hoops denied them a piece of history. Gerrard was in the hot seat that day with Beale as his assistant, but the former number two always had a huge say in how the former Liverpool and England captain set out his team. Following a short stint in charge of QPR in the English Championship, Beale returned to Govan without Gerrard and is desperate to make his mark on the club.
He has settled well in Scotland with his son born north of the border, and his family life is now based in the country. On the field of play, Beale’s Rangers remain unbeaten with just one draw, with Celtic at Ibrox blocking the perfect start. Rangers fell behind early in that game – as they have often done under Beale – but fought back to take a 2-1 lead. It looked like they may hang on to their advantage and claim the much-needed three points, but a late rocket from the visitors tied things at 2-2. It was a case of two points dropped in that match, and the team won’t want to make the same mistakes when meeting Celtic in the final.
Rangers warmed up for this clash with a comfortable win over a determined Livingston side on the road. Visiting Almondvale and its plastic pitch isn’t exactly inviting, but Gers dug deep to claim the points thanks to a 3-0 win. The goals that day were scored by Kemar Roofe and a double from captain James Tavernier. The right-back netted from the penalty spot before curling home a delightful freekick to settle things. Tav is a threat going forward, and much of his team’s best work comes down that right flank. The Englishman will be determined to lead his side to cup glory again on Sunday after their Scottish Cup exploits last year.
Celtic are here to defend
Celtic is the current League Cup champions after beating Hibs last season without encountering too much resistance from the Edinburgh side. That cup win was part of an impressive double for Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou in his first season in Glasgow. Following a slow start, the Aussie led his men on a long unbeaten run that saw them close the gap on Rangers before passing their neighbours to win the league championship. It was a stunning campaign, but now the pressure is on the Hoops. They dealt with being the underdogs last year; how will they cope with being favorites?
Only time will tell on that one, but Celtic are top of the league, preparing for Sunday’s League Cup final, and remain in the running to win the Scottish Cup. A treble this year would cement Ange’s legacy in Scotland while catching the eye of some big clubs south of the border in the English Premier League. Winning a pass to the EPL may be the manager’s long-term goal – nothing has been confirmed or denied on that front – but there’s unfinished business at his current employers. He wishes to make them the best club in Scotland and a regular in the Champions League.
Celtic booked their slot in the League Cup final with a 2-0 win over Kilmarnock in the semi-finals back in January. It was a game they were expected to win, and lived up to the hype thanks to goals from Maeda and Giakoumakis. Postecoglou has strengthened his side with new signings while losing others. How will his men fare in the final?
Rangers v Celtic prediction
The Old Firm Derby at Ibrox earlier this year showed Gers are moving in the right direction and that near miss could inspire them to glory on Sunday. They have the players, form, and momentum to claim a vital win over their bitter rivals.
League Cup odds
The pre-match betting on the League Cup final has Rangers at 3.148 with Celtic 3.64 and the draw trading at 2.16 with 22bet.
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