Manager Steven Gerrard decided to make two changes to his Glasgow Rangers side, which played against a good Hibernian team on Boxing Day. 

Inexperienced 18-year-old left winger Glenn Middleton replaced under-performing Albanian international Eros Grezda at Ibrox for the Gers.

Meanwhile Andy Halliday stepped in for Croatian defender Borna Barisic – the injured and very sorely missed attacking Rangers left-back.

It was no surprise that Middleton started, having produced a great second-half performance against St Johnstone in the previous match, which helped turn the game from 1-0 down to the Gers winning 2-1.

Ryan Jack picked up a knock during the Saints, but the Rangers physios managed to get him fit to play.

Gareth McAuley, the side’s No. 1 centre half, wasn’t so lucky. His continued injury allowed Joe Worrall to keep his place alongside Connor Goldson.

Hopefully the Northern Irish veteran will be fit for the Celtic game, as Rangers will need all their best players for the top-of-the-league battle.

Alfredo Morelos scored a vital goal to convert his 20th strike of the season, putting Rangers 1-0 ahead after a smart header from Daniel Candeias set him up for an instinctive finish.

A late well-placed headed goal by ex-Rangers defender Darren McGregor denied his old team from taking all three points, to tie the match at 1-1.

The Edinburgh side have caused Rangers plenty of trouble in recent years, and repeated the feat in the latest encounter.

Celtic winning 4-3 up at Pittodrie against Aberdeen certainly rubbed salt in the wound.

It is now imperative that Rangers do not lose to Celtic this week, especially coming hot on the heels of dropping points against Hibs.

Rangers and Celtic meet on Saturday at Ibrox in the most-important match for many a season, as the race for the title could take a gigantic twist over this festive period.

If the Hoops beat Gerrard’s men, then they will fully deserve to be odds-on favourites to go on to win the title.

The 1-1 draw still gives Rangers some hope of catching up with Celtic at the top of the table, but they now find themselves three points behind the champions, instead of just the one.

Rangers still retain second place on 39 points with Celtic now three vital points ahead on 42, plus the Hoops still have a game in hand. 

Another fine 1-0 win for Kilmarnock at Motherwell saw them leapfrog the Dons into third place on 38 points.

An unlucky Aberdeen side lost 4-3 to a high-scoring Celtic team, and are now down to fourth place on 36 points.

Any win for Rangers against Celtic this week would see the Ibrox club make a real go of a proper title challenge – for a change. 

Rangers starting XI: McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Worrall, Halliday; Jack, Coulibaly, McCrorie; Candeias, Morelos, Middleton

Subs: Foderingham, Wallace, Katic, Flanagan, Rossiter, Lafferty, Dallas.

Rangers have lost only once and drawn two of their last 13 home league games (W10 D 2 L 1). The 1-0 loss to Aberdeen in December is their only SPFL defeat at Ibrox this season. Celtic could change this excellent stat of course.


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