Rangers take on Celtic next weekend in the first Old Firm game of the season and even though it is early days, it could prove to be vital in the title race.

Rangers sit ahead of Celtic in the table with the Hoops one point behind with a game in hand. Should Celtic win, they’ll be ahead of the Gers and have a chance to increase that lead and take the league out of Rangers’ hands.

Should Steven Gerrard’s side triumph they will be clear of Celtic and their rival’s game in hand wouldn’t allow them to catch up.

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It’s hard to split the two sides at the moment, but developments this week have given Rangers a huge boost ahead of the crucial game and at this point, it would be disastrous if the Gers were to take anything other than three points from the game.

Odsonne Edouard, Ryan Christie and Nir Bitton are all likely to miss the match, with the absence of Edouard having the potential to be a huge blow for Celtic boss Neil Lennon.

The Frenchman has four goals in seven league games this season and managed 21 in 27 before the Scottish season was curtailed last term. He is lethal in the Scottish Premiership and there is no doubt that the Rangers defence will be sleeping a little easier knowing he won’t take part in next weekend’s game.

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Similarly Christie has been registered two goals and five assists in the league this season. He will be another big miss for the Hoops going forward as he has been one of the key players offensively this season for Celtic.

If you keep in mind that Rangers have only conceded three league goals this season, the prospect of Celtic playing their second choice attack must fill some Gers fans with confidence going into the game.

The Light Blues only have one injury worry, with Borna Barisic a doubt for the game. But Calvin Bassey could fill in following his solid performance against Motherwell, and he won’t be playing against a full-strength Celtic if it was to be his first Old Firm appearance.

Everything is going in Rangers’ favour at the moment. Celtic are missing key players and the Gers have started the season incredibly well. It seems that the Gers won’t have an easier opportunity to beat their rivals this season.

If this is the year they are to end Celtic’s title-winning run, then Rangers have to win next Sunday. Anything else opens the door for Celtic and there’s no guarantee that Rangers will be able to close it again.

In other Rangers news, 10,000 fans could attend Rangers fixture before end of the year – report.

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