Thursday, October 21, 2010
Scotland's greatest rivalry is showcased this week as Maurice Edu and Rangers travel to Parkhead on Sunday to take on Celtic in the latest installment of the Old Firm.
It remains to be seen if head coach Walter Smith will tab Edu for his starting midfield or perhaps start the US international off the bench.
Edu nearly all 90 minutes in last week's win over Motherwell and then went the distance in Wednesday's thrilling Champions League draw against Valencia.
Against the Spanish club, Edu was the main protagonist of the match having scored on a header to put Rangers into the lead in the 34th minute.
Unfortunately, the former Maryland standout then gave one back to the two time finalists by head a cross into his own net.
During the goal that he scored in Wednesday's first half, Edu landed hard on his shoulder and was also punched by Valencia goalkeeper Cesar on the play.
It left the midfielder a bit dazed and shaken although Edu did finish the match.
As a result of that collision, it is conceivable that Smith might start Edu on the bench but have him available as a primary option off the bench.
Unlike last season when the Light Blues burst ahead of the Hoops in the standings, the two old foes are neck and neck thus far in the Scottish Premier League.
Through eight matches, each of the Glasgow clubs maintain a perfect record. Rangers are technically in first due to a slightly better goal difference of one.
Celtic are much improved off of last year's campaign and are chomping at the bit to have a shot at their main rival.
In their four meetings last year, Rangers grabbed seven points from the first three contests which included a gutsy 1-1 draw at Celtic Park in early January and then Edu's scintillating last-second gamewinner at Ibrox weeks later.
The Hoops won the fourth outing but by then Rangers had already claimed the SPL title.
Rangers midfielder Lee McColluch is still battling a groin injury and may miss. Defender Kirk Broadfoot is also questionable. James Beattie, John Fleck and Nikica Jelavic are all out with injuries.
Celtic's Niall McGinn will be a gameday decision, captain Scott Brown and Beram Kayal are both out while Charlie Mulgrew, James Forrest and Thomas Rogne are all hoping to be healthy in time for Sunday.