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New Years Eve Old Firm derby on the way as Celtic and Rangers set to renew rivalry

Celtic and Rangers will resume their Scottish Premiership rivalry in just the fourth game of next season.

Celtic captain Scott Brown competes for the ball against Rangers
Celtic captain Scott Brown competes for the ball against Rangers

THE OLD FIRM derby will return to the Scottish Premiership on 10 September, with Celtic and Rangers scheduled to meet at Parkhead in just their fourth game of next season.

The Glasgow rivals have not played a league fixture since April 2012 – a 3-0 Celtic win – in the aftermath of Rangers’ liquidation and subsequent demotion to the bottom tier of Scottish football.

They met in the Scottish Cup semi-finals last term, Rangers prevailing in a penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw.

Meanwhile, the first derby back at Ibrox is scheduled to take place on New Year’s Eve.

It remains to be seen if Rangers will immediately resume their role of title-challengers, although a largely dominant show in that Hampden Park clash suggests they will quickly be back among the front-runners.

Rangers returned to the top flight by romping to the Championship title last season, finishing 11 points clear of Falkirk and Hibernian.

Mark Warburton’s men kick off their campaign at home to Hamilton Academical, while Celtic’s bid for a sixth Premiership title in succession begins at Hearts, who finished third last term.

Brendan Rodgers replaced Ronny Deila in the Parkhead hot seat over the close-season, with the former Liverpool boss looking to rebuild his reputation after his Anfield sacking.

Rodgers could have a tougher task than Deila did in winning two league titles, with the Norwegian enjoying 17-point and 15-point winning margins over Aberdeen.

The Dons’ campaign begins at St Johnstone, while Kilmarnock – who stayed up with a play-off win over Falkirk last season – start their season at Motherwell.

Ross County host Dundee and Inverness Caledonian Thistle travel to Partick Thistle in the opening round’s other games.

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