As we head into the first Ladbrokes Premiership clash between Celtic and Rangers in four years, it couldn’t be more perfectly poised.
First and second in the Ladbrokes Premiership, only a point separates the pair. Celtic want revenge for the Scottish Cup exit in April. The Gers want to go top.
But this has always been a game of great passions and plotlines, a fixture which doesn’t just make fans happy or sad – but utterly delighted or totally devastated.
So before the focus turns to Saturday’s meeting, we’re taking a trip down memory lane to salute the striking stars who made themselves heroes in this fixture on each side of the city.
Henrik Larsson (1997-2004)
The skilful Swede was a key part of the Parkhead club’s success in ending Rangers’ nine-in-a-row title run during his first season, in 1997-98, but it was in the following years when he became their tormentor-in-chief.
Two superb goals in the 5-1 demolition of their fierce rivals in November 1998 elevated his status with Bhoys’ fans, and a stunning winner in the 2-1 victory over the Gers in 2004 all-but-secured his third title with the club. However, it was this chip which remains his most iconic goal in the famous fixture.
Chris Sutton (2000-06)
Having joined the Hoops after a difficult spell at Chelsea, the Norwich-born hitman quickly set about putting his Stamford Bridge slump behind him, with 14 goals in his first season in Glasgow – and he began to gradually deliver a series of huge contributions against the Gers.
There was a crucial Scottish Cup strike in 2005 at Celtic Park, en route to lifting the trophy. A vital finish in the 3-3 draw in 2002. And a pride-inducing winner for the Champions as they hosted the Gers in 2004.
Ally McCoist (1983-98)
There’s only one place to start as far as Ibrox icons go. 27 goals in Old Firm games for the Gers meant Hoops fans breathed a huge sigh of relief when Ally finally left for Kilmarnock in 1998.
It’s difficult to give a firm answer on his most impressive display in this fixture, though his clinical hat-trick as Rangers won 3-2 in the 1984 League Cup final is a strong contender. But who can forget his contribution in this 3-3 draw…
But it’s consistency which has been his most impressive asset in this fixture. The Gers great netted in four successive meetings with Celtic between August 1985 and November 1986.
Peter Lovenkrands (2000-06)
While it’s endurance which has made McCoist a hero in this fixture, it was a single afternoon which ensured the Dane’s place in this list – and Gers folklore. Though there were clear similarities with one of Ally’s finest displays.
On 4 May 2002, the versatile youngster tied the Celtic defence in knots in an unforgettable Scottish Cup triumph. First, his arrowed strike cancelled out John Hartson’s opener, before he returned to haunt the Hoops with a spectacular injury-time header to secure a 3-2 win.
And leaping over the hoardings to blow kisses to the Teddy Bears’ support won’t have hurt his popularity in the Blue half of Glasgow. Oh, he also scored four more times against the Hoops. Not too shabby.
Kenny Miller (Rangers: 2000-01, 2008-11, 2014-present / Celtic: 2006-07)
The veteran hitman may be better known for his time at Ibrox than Celtic Park, but he became one of very few men to net on both sides of this fixture, having secured a winner for the Hoops back in September 2006 – before racing off in excitement!
However, he’s netted against Celtic in all three spells at Ibrox, including goals in a Scottish Cup semi-final, numerous doubles in the league and perfectly-taken penalties in this fixture have meant he’s more revered by followers of Mark Warburton’s men than Brendan Rodgers’.
So, who will triumph this time around as Celtic and Rangers do battle once again?
And we could be set to see plenty more goals from this great fixture, with 13/8 for over 3.5 goals, and 4/1 for over 4.5.
Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing