Rangers vs Celtic: Where could Sunday's Old Firm match be won and lost?

Rangers have won five of the last six meetings between the sides; Celtic go into the match at Ibrox having recorded consecutive 6-0 league victories; Watch the game live on Sky Sports Football & Main Event from 11am on Sunday; Kick-off at noon

Less than a month into the Scottish Premiership season and supporters already have an Old Firm clash to look forward to on Sunday.

The final round of games ahead of the first international break of the campaign sees Celtic make the short trip across Glasgow to Rangers, where a fiery atmosphere awaits them at Ibrox.

Ahead of this huge clash, WhoScored.com takes a look at four key battles that could prove decisive when these two lock horns once more...

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Connor Goldson vs Stephen Welsh

Connor Goldson has been a pillar of consistency for Rangers following his 2018 arrival from Brighton and his WhoScored.com rating of 7.38 was enough to make the Scottish Premiership team of the year last season. The 28-year-old has started the new campaign well and scored his first goal of the season in the 4-2 win at Ross County last weekend.

Goldson is a key player for the Gers in their ability to dominate opponents and kick-off attacks from the back. 215 accurate passes is the third-best record in the division this term and ensuring he has the space to play the ball out from the back will be key for Rangers as they seek to claim an early scalp.

It's a similar story for Celtic, with Stephen Welsh's composure belying his tender years. The 21-year-old has made just two league starts this season, though both came in back-to-back 6-0 home wins.

Welsh only featured from the get-go 10 times in the league last season, but the early indications are that he will become a key man under Ange Postecoglou. The youngster has misplaced just eight passes across his two league outings thus far and if he can get the ball to the midfield with ease, then Celtic will seek to dominate the match.

Joe Aribo vs Ryan Christie

After playing a key role in Rangers' title success last season, scoring six and providing an additional four assists, Joe Aribo has started the current campaign a little slower, netting just the once across his three outings. Of course, it is early days yet for the 25-year-old and he'll be keen to gain a head of steam leading into the international break, starting with the meeting with Celtic.

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James McFadden believes Joe Aribo could be key for Rangers as he picks his 'ones to watch' for Sunday's Old Firm game at Ibrox

Conversely, Ryan Christie has made a superb start to the season, with his WhoScored.com rating of 8.22 the fourth-best in the division. Christie is one of three players to earn a perfect 10 WhoScored.com rating in a Scottish Premiership match this season, achieving the feat in Celtic's 6-0 win over Dundee.

Christie registered a hat-trick of assists in the thumping home victory and it means no player has provided more assists than the Celtic star in the Scottish Premiership this season. What's more, Christie's 13 key passes is joint-first in Scotland's top tier, but with Aribo boasting a WhoScored.com strength of 'tackling', the Rangers man has what it takes to minimise Christie's impact in the final third to help the Gers to all the spoils.

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Highlights from Parkhead as Ryan Christie helped Celtic thrash Dundee 6-0

Ianis Hagi vs Liel Abada

It took Ianis Hagi just eight minutes to bag his first league goal of the season as the Romanian kicked off 2021/22 in fine fashion. With Ryan Kent sidelined, there is now greater pressure on Hagi to step up and deputise for his teammate.

The 22-year-old registered more assists (11) than any other player in the Premiership last season, this despite never really nailing down a regular spot under Steven Gerrard. Yet with options thin on the ground, Rangers will need Hagi to be at his creative best in the Old Firm, a high-pressure role to undertake considering he has never started a home league game against the Bhoys.

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Ianis Hagi showed great composure to put Rangers 1-0 up against Livingston on the opening day of the new season

However, Celtic have a wing wizard of their own in the ranks in the form of Liel Abada. The Bhoys brought the Israeli to Glasgow in the summer and he has made an immediate impact. Level with James Tavernier and Ryan Christie on 13 key passes, Abada has quickly endeared himself to Celtic supporters, earning a perfect 10 WhoScored.com rating in their 6-0 win over St Mirren at the weekend.

Having provided an assist the previous gameweek, the teenager has made a sprint start to life in Scotland and will be looking to outshine Hagi in the Old Firm to really establish himself as a fan favourite at Celtic Park.

Celtic's Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates making it 4-0 with Liel Abada during a cinch Premiership match between Celtic and Dundee at Celtic Park
Image: Liel Abada has impressed alongside fellow summer signing Kyogo Furuhashi

Alfredo Morelos vs Odsonne Edouard

Given his goal record for Rangers, it's surprising that it took until his 15th Old Firm appearance for Alfredo Morelos to hit the back of the net against Celtic. His Old Firm record now stands at two goals in 17 outings in meetings with the Bhoys after scoring in the 4-1 win over Celtic back in May. The 25-year-old got his campaign up and running against Ross County last weekend, scoring one and assisting another in a man of the match performance.

Morelos featured in the most recent Scottish Premiership team of the week, in what was ideal preparation for the welcome of Celtic and partnered Odsonne Edouard on the frontline. While Morelos has a sub-par record against Celtic, Edouard has impressed in the Old Firm.

Rangers are his third favourite opponent, with the Frenchman scoring seven goals in 13 outings against the Gers. Three of those seven goals have come at Ibrox, so Edouard isn't overawed by the occasion when it comes to facing Rangers.

The Celtic hitman has had a direct hand in a goal in every league outing this season, netting twice and providing one assist, a record he'll be aiming to extend on Sunday.

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