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Rangers v Celtic: Can Rodgers get Old Firm tune out of side?

Scottish Premiership: Rangers v Celtic

Venue: Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow Date: Sunday, 3 September Time: 12:00 BST

Coverage: Listen to live Sportsound commentary on BBC Sounds, BBC Radio Scotland & BBC Radio 5 live; follow live text updates on the BBC Sport website & app; watch highlights on Sportscene

Both sets of fans go into the first Old Firm derby of the season with an air of exuberant expectancy. It's the first opportunity to lay down a marker in a two-horse race after all.

But this time there may just be a mood of apprehension in each camp, with supporters concerned about form and simultaneously heartened by the other side's apparent failings.

In short, it's been a less than convincing start for the behemoths of the Scottish game.

Michael Beale apologised to those who travelled to Eindhoven after Rangers had their Champions League qualifying hopes brutally crushed by PSV. Celtic were booed off the park in last weekend's 0-0 draw at home to St Johnstone, which followed a rather meek Viaplay Cup exit at Kilmarnock.

A win on Sunday at Ibrox would therefore be a most welcome shot in the arm.

Both managers are in a rebuilding phase as Beale begins his first full campaign with a host of new faces, while Brendan Rodgers tweaks a winning formula on his return to the defending champions.

Rodgers was supposed to be beginning from a position of strength, inheriting a treble-winning squad, but first-team ready recruits have been slow to arrive following the departures of Jota, Aaron Mooy and Carl Starfelt.

"Going to Ibrox will be a big, big task, especially with their confidence now having dipped," former Celtic goalkeeper Pat Bonner told BBC Sportsound.

"It's a big job for Rodgers to get this group really tuned into what they should be doing on the pitch and how they go about it, with the Champions League just around the corner too. The fans were not happy on Saturday."

Ruthless edge gone?

Injuries in defence have not helped, but a blunt attack over the past two goalless weekends is the more perplexing issue for Celtic, who were so ruthless and energetic under Ange Postecoglou.

Rodgers admitted his side "lacked craft and that extra wee bit of imagination" against Saints.

Kyogo Furuhashi, last season's top scorer, is playing in a deeper role and that has allowed midfielders to get forward more, with Matt O'Riley and David Turnbull both on two goals from three league outings.

Kyogo also has two but may well have had a few more if the chances spurned by O'Riley against St Johnstone had come his way.

Rangers' problems seem to be at the back, with PSV plundering seven goals over two legs, which suggests Celtic will get chances, but is a shift in approach required to take them?

"Kyogo was really isolated on Saturday," former Hibs and Dundee boss Jim Duffy told BBC Scotland. "He got very little support and that's something Rodgers will have to look at, how to link up the play. Celtic didn't get enough bodies around Kyogo to give him opportunities."

Rodgers admitted "that bit of stick" from fans at Celtic Park was "deserved" but is confident his side will soon get up to speed.

"When you look back at my first time here; the team was dynamic, it was fast, got through the lines very quickly, created chances, scored goals," he said. "This is what we will eventually get to."

Rodgers record offers hope

There were six Old Firm meetings last season, with Rangers' only success coming in May at Ibrox once the title had already been decided.

If Rangers were to make it two wins in a row, those Celtic grumblings will grow louder.

However, no Celtic manager can better Rodgers' 70% win rate against Rangers in the league (W7 D2 L1).

"When you are playing Rangers, home and away, it's the easiest game ever as a manager in terms of motivation and commitment because it's an obligation," he said. "You don't have a choice in any game, and in particular in that game."