Ex-Celtic striker predicts Rangers result, and the key player who will decide victory

Celtic Champions League

Former Celtic striker Charlie Nicholas is confident his old side will beat Rangers.

Celtic face Rangers on Sunday in the first meeting between the two teams since the Gers were booted out of the top flight.

Promotion back to Scotland's top tier looks unlikely this season with Hearts having a substantial lead over them, but the 'luck' of the League Cup draw has pitted the two fierce rivals against each other.

Celtic go into the game as heavy favourites, topping the SPL and into the latter stages of the Europa League.

Former Celtic forward Charlie Nicholas has told SkySports he does not see his old side running away with a big win, but they will prevail, and goes as far as to predict who will provide the difference and how. 

He said: "I’m going for a Celtic 2-0 win. I don’t think Rangers will be able to cope with Celtic’s set-piece threat, especially from Virgil van Dijk.”

If van Dijk proves the decisive player, Celtic really will thank their lucky stars they have been able to hold onto him this transfer window, with the Dutchman linked with English Premier League clubs this month by The Mail.

Nicholas went on to add: "Rangers are very ordinary at the back and their midfield is lacklustre but they will certainly match Celtic for attitude and commitment.”

The legendary passion of the rivalry will have not only fans on both sides gripped, but casual fans around the world will be watching too, and that sort of interest is a shot in the arm for Scottish football.

As a result Rangers will be even more determined not to get embarrassed in the clash, and spring a big upset on Ronny Deila's side.

The expectation puts pressure on Celtic, and the longer Rangers can frustrate them, the more settled they will feel. Whether they have the quality however to withstand for 90 minutes, especially from set pieces, will be found out on Sunday.

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