IF you are a betting man, you certainly wouldn’t be putting any money on Rangers winning the Old Firm game this afternoon.

It is not easy for me to say, but I don’t think we have any chance of beating Celtic. If the fans are being honest, they will struggle to make a case for it as well.

I know we could look back at the Hearts game a couple of weeks ago and say it shows that Celtic can be beaten and, of course, anything can happen in football, especially on Old Firm day. But I can’t see Celtic having an off day like that at Parkhead.

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If you look at the quality that Brendan Rodgers has at his disposal - and the quality that Graeme Murty doesn’t in the shape of Lee Wallace, Graham Dorrans, Kenny Miller and probably Ryan Jack – then it doesn’t bode well for Rangers.

The only way that we have any semblance of a chance today is if we go for a defensive approach and try and stifle Celtic. If we go toe-to-toe with them, we will get beat.

Celtic have got better players than Rangers and when better players are allowed time and space to play then they will hurt you. That could easily happen to Rangers today.

So Graeme will either have to go 4-5-1 or 5-4-1 and try and stop them playing in the middle of the park and using their wide men and force them into playing long balls.

Whether it is Sinclair or Forrest on the wings, Armstrong or Ntcham in the midfield or Dembele or Griffiths up front, Celtic have so many players that can win the game for them.

Rangers need to deny them the space to operate in and they will need to fight for every ball for the whole 90 minutes if they are to get anything out of the game.

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It will take a well-drilled, disciplined performance from Rangers and Graeme will know that any lapse in concentration from anyone will be punished.

If there is a gap, you plug it. If the ball is there to be cleared, you clear it. If a tackle is there to be won, you win it.

No matter how good a player you are, if you have no time on the ball and no space to operate, then you won’t be as influential as you could be.

Celtic will have the majority of the ball, that goes without saying, but it is what you do in the final third that counts and that is where Rangers need to be sharp and solid.

It is one thing the opposition knocking the ball about the back and into midfield and back again, but when they get a sight of goal you have to make it difficult for them to break through the lines.

I can’t remember the last time that space scored a goal. So, mark a man and stick with him, don’t give the strikers a sniff of goal.

You are looking for Wes Foderingham to organise those in front of him and dominate his box, you need the centre-halves, probably Danny Wilson and Bruno Alves, to lead by example at the heart of the defence.

It all sounds like basic stuff, but that is what Rangers have to do. Too often this season, they haven’t done the basics right and it has cost them.

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When you are playing against a side that are better than you, then you have to start from the back and build from there. It won’t be pretty from Rangers, but it could prove to be the most effective approach.

I am sure everyone in red, white and blue would take the dullest fixture of the season and a 0-0 draw right now. If we can come away with a point, that is a good result.

I never thought I would say that about an Old Firm game but that is how far ahead Celtic are right now, especially with Rangers set to be without so many important players.

Graeme has got to go with a defensive minded side, get players back behind the ball and try and frustrate Celtic. If they can do that for as long as possible, then they will hope to snatch a goal at the other end.

Celtic know they will probably win this afternoon but they will be fired up for it and Rangers need to match, and surpass, those levels of determination and energy right from the first whistle.

Every one of the players that Graeme selects will have to be at the top of their game, but even that might not be good enough for them to win the match. If Celtic play well, they will win.

The Rangers fans that go to Parkhead or tune in this afternoon might not be expecting to see their side win the game.

But they will demand a committed performance from every single player that pulls on the jersey and crosses that white line.

It is difficult for me to say that I can’t see Rangers winning the game, but that is how I see it unfortunately.

That is head over heart. Come the end of the game this afternoon, I would love to be proven wrong.