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Celtic v Rangers: Who will win fascinating but flawed Old Firm title race?



Regardless, there is an unmissable edge here that’s rare in mid-May. Normally, the title is done – or as good as done – by now. Nothing has gone to the wire in an age.

This time last season, Celtic were eight points ahead with three to play. The season before it was tighter than usual but it was still six points.

Before that, Rangers took a 20-point lead into this round of fixtures in 2020-21. And in the seasons previously, Celtic’s advantage at the top with three left was nine, 10, 20, nine, 11, 27, 12 and 21 points.

We’re in pretty unfamiliar territory now.

Celtic are warm favourites to win a 12th title in 13 years but their lead is only three points. They have home advantage on Saturday against a side that hasn’t even led against them this season, not to mind beaten them, but they’re not a shoo-in.

Much has been made of their 3-0 win over Hearts last Saturday, which was genuinely impressive.

Callum McGregor was back to close to his old self in the heart of the midfield. Reo Hatate was influential. The defence, marshalled by Cameron Carter-Vickers, weathered an early Hearts storm.

It was a Celtic performance that had a touch of a throwback about it, a reminder of the authority they had under Rodgers in his first season in charge in 2016-17.

But only two games before that they were defensively shambolic in the Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen, conceding three times. Rangers scored three against them not long before that.

Was the Hearts game a turning of a corner or an outlier in a battling season? And even if it was an outlier, are Rangers good enough to take advantage of any weakness?

Kilmarnock and Hearts have better records against Celtic than Rangers this season, both beating them twice.

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