No concern if Celtic don’t strike early in Glasgow derby

By John Reid

December 27, 2019

Celtic’s Glasgow derby against Rangers on Sunday is set to be one of the most important league meetings between the sides in a while. A win for the Hoops would see them go eight points clear at the top of the league – even though Rangers would have a game in hand.

It will be interesting to see how Neil Lennon approaches the game. He will want his Celtic side to be on the front foot far more than they were in the Betfred Cup Final between the teams. One aspect that could help with that is if the Hoops score the first goal in the game.

Opening goal not scored early

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Interestingly, in the three wins Neil Lennon has had against Rangers since returning to the club the Hoops have scored the opening goal. However, the goals were not scored that early in the game. In fact, the earliest goal in the three wins was Odsonne Edouard’s goal in the 27th minute in the 2-1 win at Celtic Park in March.

The other opening goals in the Celtic victories have come in the 32nd and 60th minute. Therefore, there is no need for any concern if the Hoops do not score in the early stages of the game. As long as Celtic have scored more goals than Rangers by the end of the game is the important thing.

Manager will want Hoops to dominate game

(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Celtic’s two wins against Rangers this season have seen the Hoops been on the back foot for much of the games. That wasn’t the case in the win against Rangers under Lennon’s management last season. The Hoops dominated much of that game.

Lennon will be hopeful that Celtic dominate Sunday’s derby, but even if the Hoops don’t, the most important thing is picking up the three points.

Celtic don’t even need to score an early goal to do that, but scoring the first goal would be advantageous.