Scottish football has been without its premier fixture in recent years, but the Scottish Cup has brought back together two of the game’s oldest foes, Celtic and Rangers.
April 16/17 is the date(s) almost every football fan will be scribbling into their diary in anticipation of the Old Firm locking horns in one of world football’s oldest and fiercest rivalries.
Hampden is the venue for the semi-final between the two, as it has been for numerous finals and countless semi-finals in the history of Scottish football.
A lot has changed in the relatively short time since the last time the two squared off in February of last year, certainly in terms of personnel.
Gers are almost unrecognisable from the team that went down 2-0 to their neighbours thanks to goals from Leigh Griffiths and Kris Commons.
Kenny McDowall was gaffer at the time when they fielded a team that were a far-cry away in quality from former Rangers legends who once graced the fixture.
Celtic, on the other hand, retain a largely similar unit. Only a few of their main men from that day in 2015 have moved on to pastures new. Virgil van Dijk, Jason Denayer and John Guidetti have since vacated Glasgow, but did so with an Old Firm victory on their CV.
Mark Warburton has taken over the reins at Ibrox and is doing a terrific job at the helm. The Light Blues currently sit top of the Ladbrokes Championship, 12 points clear of their closest challengers Falkirk and are shoo-ins to win the title and be back in the big-time next season.
Warburton’s counterpart Ronny Deila on the other hand has had a tough time of late. Despite sitting atop the Ladbrokes Premiership, Deila’s Celtic have been criticised by Hoops fans who expected to be further ahead in the race for the silverware at this late stage of the season.
Credit must, however, go to Aberdeen, who are currently only one point behind Celts and 7/1 to win the Premiership.
But the Bhoys are still massive favourites to lift the title at the end of the campaign and could do so having already guaranteed themselves a place in the Scottish Cup final; if they can beat Rangers in April.
It’s Ronny’s famous Roar versus Warburton’s Magic Hat and it’s going to a fascinating duel.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.