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Friday 21st October 2016

Key Players - Rangers v Celtic

We take a look at some of the key figures from the Betfred Cup semi-final between Rangers and Celtic.

Moussa Dembele (Celtic)

Having netted a hat-trick in the last game between the sides, barring injury it seems almost inconceivable that Dembele will not start Sunday's match, where expectations will be high for him to repeat the performance. While another treble is unlikely, he should get one or two chances against a Rangers defence which can leave gaps at the back. If he does, given his heightened confidence thanks to recent form, he'll fancy his chances of tucking them away.

James Forrest (Celtic)

Though he was quiet in the defeat to Gladbach in midweek, he's built up enough credit in the bank to ensure a start over Patrick Roberts at the weekend. Besides, tactically it would make greater sense for Forrest to start than Roberts. His pace will help pin Rangers back and keep Lee Wallace from making those marauding runs forward. And while Scott Sinclair remains on the other flank, the side has greater balance with Forrest, an old-fashioned, hug-the-touchline winger, rather than Roberts who also likes to attack inside.

Clint Hill (Rangers)

It's fair to say Rangers will need a stronger defensive performance than their showing at Celtic Park earlier in the season. Hill may not be the quickest, but he brings a wealth of experience. His communication and organisational skills will be of immense importance if Rangers are to get anything out of the game, regardless of how well Mark Warburton's side manage to retain possession.

Jason Holt (Rangers)

It was assumed coming into this season that Holt would drop out of the picture, what with the arrival of several centre midfielders into the Rangers squad. However, it was quite clear during his absence that Warburton's men missed the influence of the diminutive player. No-one in the squad moves the ball as quickly as Holt. He gets possession, finds a team-mate and gets into space to provide another option. It may seem like a simple task, but it enables Rangers to keep a quick-tempo to their play, which is vital to the system working. He was excellent against Celtic in the semi-final win last season, and will need to be again.

Tom Rogic (Celtic)

A player of supreme talent, when the Australian is on his game, there's very little chance of stopping him. He combines a unique blend of size and technique, making him a nightmare to dispossess, while he also packs a powerful strike and strong passing range. The one concern is his stamina, as evident by his substitution after 57 minutes in the last Old Firm encounter. However, if he can play as well in Sunday's encounter as he did in the 5-1 win, 57 minutes may be all he needs.

Martyn Waghorn (Rangers)

You know what you're getting from Kenny Miller. He's got to work hard for the team, be a leader on the park, and threaten around the penalty area. But we don't know what to expect from the rest of the Ibrox striking corps at present. Someone needs to step up and take the burden off Miller, and the most likely candidate is Waghorn. He's struggled a little since coming back from injury, but he knows how to get into dangerous errors and could see his season get a lot better, very quickly, with a strike against Celtic.