Thursday, December 31, 2009
Another installment of Scotland's greatest rivalry is on the docket this weekend as Maurice Edu and Rangers make the crosstown trip to Celtic Park on Sunday to take on Old Firm rivals Celtic.
Edu will hope to see some significant minutes for head coach Walter Smith after not partaking in Wednesday's 7-1 bludgeoning of Dundee United.
A start may even be in the cards for the California native should the Scottish Football Association reject Rangers' appeal to overturn Kenny Miller's red card from Wednesday's victory. Miller was sent off in the second half after exchanging blows with United defender Darren Dods.
If the SFA rules that Miller is suspended for Sunday's match, Smith may opt to shuffle his lineup by inserting Edu into the central midfield, the same position Edu manned in last May's 1-0 victory over Celtic that helped Rangers claim the SPL crown.
The former Maryland standout played arguably his best match of the season that day at Ibrox Stadium, something Smith will assuredly take into consideration come game time.
Fellow American DaMarcus Beasley had been hopeful that he could return from a thigh strain in time for Sunday's clash, but recent reports suggest that Beasley will have to sit out another week before returning to action.
Rangers have been all but unstoppable in recent weeks amassing a six match league winning streak and scoring 26 goals in the process. The club has been led by Kris Boyd who scored a jaw-dropping five goals in the victory over United and now has 19 on the season.
Boyd also earned the distinction during Wednesday's rout of surpassing legendary Celtic man Henrik Larsson as the all-time SPL leading scorer.
The striker is sure to see a much more formidable defense on Sunday as Celtic will be aiming to keep their long-time hated rivals within reach in the SPL standings. Currently, Smith's squad are seven points ahead of Celtic but the Parkhead squad still has a game in hand.
With Miller and his 12 goals potentially watching from the stands, the Hoops will be looking to lock down Boyd and force Edu and the rest of the Rangers attack to play the role of goal scorer.
In addition to Beasley, Kevin Thomson will be out for the visitors while Celtic head man Tony Mowbray will not have the services of Scott Brown, Shaun Maloney and Koki Mizuno due to injury.