Ranking the 10 best Old Firm players this season ahead of table-topping clash

Steven Gerrard and Neil Lennon

One of the most iconic fixtures in football, the Old Firm needs little talking up.

Still, for those outside Scotland who may have written this season off as nothing more than Celtic’s procession to a tenth league title in a row, the form guide so far certainly makes some interesting reading.

While it’s certainly worth noting that the champions have a game in hand and saw their season rocked by Boli Bolingoli’s maddening disregard to COVID-19 protocols in a manner only big name politicians can get away with, Rangers are out in front by a point as Steven Gerrard aims to prevent a green and white dream.

Both sides are yet to lose in the league this season too, making Saturday’s first Old Firm a mouth-watering affair.

So, who are the standout figures?

Well, just to be clear, GiveMeSport’s ranking is done on the top 10 best players THIS SEASON.

10) Jeremie Frimpong

Jeremie Frimpong’s end product (1 goal and 1 assist this season) could obviously do with some work but there’s little doubting what a joy he can be to watch.

A searingly quick wing-back and an infectious personality when it comes to interviews, the Dutchman’s lack of goal contributions may not be entirely his fault however, with James Cairney of the Herald pointing out that much of the Bhoys’ attacking play is focused down the left-hand side, the opposite flank to where Frimpong plays.

Still, as he proved in one of Celtic’s most convincing wins this season (the 3-0 away victory over high-flying Hibernian), his relentless attacking style can be a joy to behold.

9) Jon McLaughlin

Jon McLaughlin

Brought to Rangers over the course of the summer window, Jon McLaughlin has been a wonderful addition to Gerrard’s ranks.

Battling for No.1 spot with Allan McGregor, the former Black Cats stopper looks to have earned his spot between the Ibrox posts with a league-high 0.846% save percentage from 11 shots faced this season, proving crucial in making Rangers more solid.

Indeed, he also leads the way in Scotland’s top division on a clean sheet percentage (87.5% of his 8 starts have resulted in one) and looks an inspired addition.

8) Odsonne Edouard

Odsonne Edouard

To be clear, the ranking is done on this season.

There’s no doubting Odsonne Edouard’s quality and the fact that, last year, he was the standout player in the Scottish Premiership by some distance. Frankly, it’s an absolute shock he’s not moved on yet.

However, by his own lofty standards, ‘French Eddy’ hasn’t quite hit the top form he’s proven he’s capable of.

After an opening day hat-trick, he’s completed 90 minutes just once and, though four goals is a good return from six games, it’s hard to deny it’s been a relatively stop-start campaign for him.

7) Albian Ajeti

Still yet to compete 90 minutes in the league as he works his way up to full fitness, his lack of minutes is the only thing stopping Albian Ajeti from shooting up the rankings.

Indeed, his strike rate of one goal every 48 minutes is the best in the division and his ‘ugly genius’ has been praised by The Athletic.

Celebrated for his anticipation in the box and possessing exactly the kind of stocky build which make him ideal for Scotland, the fact 75% of his shots hit the target speaks to a man capable of filling his boots on the goalscoring front.

6) Ianis Hagi

Ianis Hagi

Perhaps it seems strange to have Ianis Hagi this low down but despite his league-topping 5 assists this season, Ianis Hagi has completed 90 minutes just three times.

Gerrard himself has called on the Romanian to improve his consistency to regularly feature in what looks to be a prolific Gers attack, which is clearly a nice problem to have.

Considering he’s already averaging 0.74 assists per 90 minutes, the idea of seeing him improve even further is a scary prospect for Scottish defences.

5) Greg Taylor

Greg Taylor Celtic

Pretty much a mainstay in Celtic’s team, left-wing back Greg Taylor has gone from strength to strength since replacing Kieran Tierney little over a year ago now.

Three assists and as many big chances created have seen him start the campaign in a creative mood after Bolingoli’s exit and, even after the signing of Diego Laxalt, the former Kilmarnock man can surely rest easy in his starting position should he keep up with this kind of form.

4) Ryan Christie

Ryan Christie

Much like Edouard, Ryan Christie is perhaps a victim of his own success when it comes to these rankings.

While he has created the most big chances in the league this season and remains a major source of creativity for the Bhoys, it’s hard to argue he’s on the same rampage he was at times last season.

Indeed, his goals and assist average per 90 minutes is down (1.19 to 0.86) so even his impressive six goal contributions so far is somewhat of a dip compared to last year.

3) James Tavernier

James Tavernier Rangers

James Tavernier is a force to be reckoned with and we’ve known that a while. However, this season the Rangers skipper is seemingly taking no prisoners as he flies up and down the right-hand side, as his eight goal contributions already suggest.

Considering the fact he also leads the way in terms of tackles won (16) when it comes to Rangers players, the former Newcastle United youngster is clearly doing his side of the defensive work too.

2) Scott Arfield

Scott Arfield

1.02 goal contributions per 90 minutes is the highest in the league and Scott Arfield certainly looks to be a man on a mission this season.

Providing support from deep with surging runs into the box, he’s scored crucial goals against Hibs and Dundee after hitting a purple patch of late.

1) Ryan Kent

Rangers can count their lucky stars that Ryan Kent remains at Ibrox.

A cut above literally anyone else in Scotland this season, the 23-year-old is on fire in what is starting to look like his coming-of-age campaign. 2.7 successful dribbles per game cannot be matched by a single player in the division, while 2.5 key passes over the same period rank amongst the top four returns in the league.

The aforementioned Hagi may get more assists but Kent has scored four goals (none of which are penalties) and his 12 shots on target is the most of any non-striker in Scotland.

A wonderfully direct attacking outlet, Kent can’t be matched this season.

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