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Celtic v Rangers – preview, schedule, how to watch and predictions

It’s a big story

Twenty-two years since Celtic and Rangers last contested the Scottish Cup Final, the Old Firm rivals meet again at Hampden Park – and if this meeting can come close to the 2002 game, the traditional end of the Scottish season could prove to be a classic.

Celtic went ahead twice – including John Hartson’s opener – in 2002. Rangers took two minutes to equalize in the first and 19 in the second, then won the game when Peter Lovenkrands’ second goal settled the game in the 90th minute.

More wins would suit Rangers in particular at the moment after a campaign to humble their rivals, picking up a point from four games between the top teams in the Scottish Premiership.

Rangers were top of the league table at the end of February but had a poor run, starting with a 2-1 home defeat to Motherwell as part of a slump that included four wins from ten games.

In one of those games, they were beaten by Celtic within seconds and were 2-0 down at half-time at Ibrox. They continued to level in the 86th minute, conceded a minute more and secured a 3-3 draw in the 93rd minute in an impressive second half.

This was the only game in their last nine in which Celtic did not take the top score, taking full advantage of Rangers’ rotten run to win the title by eight points.

If Rangers get a little reason to be confident on the basis of form, they will be fully aware of all the accepted sayings about the one unpredictability that the final brings, reminding themselves of that ding-dong draw and the fact that every defeat in the game they want to win so much this season has been by goals.

Celtic have every reason to be brimming with belief and expectation. Manager Brendan Rodgers has won the Scottish Cup twice with them, while Rangers’ Philippe Clement is in his first season in Scotland.

The Hoops have lifted the trophy in four of the last six seasons, although Rangers won the last two seasons, their first since 2008/09.

Kick-off time for the Celtic v Rangers Scottish Cup final

The match will start at 3pm BST on Saturday, May 25 2024.

Celtic v Rangers team news, lineup

Celtic’s only minor injury concern earlier in the week was Stephen Welsh’s shoulder injury against St Mirren on Saturday, but the defender is back in training.

Their bill of health is in stark contrast to Rangers, who may also have players in all areas of the pitch as part of the injury list which has contributed to their poor results.

Defenders John Souttar, Connor Goldson and Borna Barisic, wingers Oscar Cortes and Rabbi Matondo and forwards Tom Lawrence and Danilo are among the players likely to miss out.

Clement suggested he may have to risk players who are far from fit. However, defender Leon Balogun and midfielder Ryan Jack have returned from injury.

Celtic likely starting XI (4-3-3): Hart; Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Scales, Taylor; McGregor, Hatate, O’Riley; Forrest, Kyogo, Maeda

Possible Rangers starting XI (4-2-3-1): Butland; Tavernier, King, Davies, Yilmaz; Diomande, Raskin; McCausland, Cantwell, Silva; Desserts


With just one defeat since December 16, Celtic should have more and a Rangers side whose bottom form once again shows their diminished squad.

Rodgers has been wise to caution freely and it would not be surprising to see this game decided by a goal again – just as it was 22 years ago.

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