The distinctive, rakish bonhomie starts well over a week before the game itself.
Eavesdropping on conversations in one of Glasgow's many agreeable pubs. The subject matter? Need you ask? The first Old Firm showdown of the season. Scotland's midweek success gets flagged up in despatches - but everyone knows what is top billing.
"Stevie G seems to really rate this guy Zungu"… "There are problems with Edouard, but Lenny knows what he's doing." And so it goes.
In the forensic debates over the prospects facing Celtic and Rangers, traditionally, every possible angle has been covered. Great or poor form going into the derby, new recruits and the general loose anarchy of the forthcoming affair are inevitable. Yet this one throws up an altered, unwanted slant on things; the idea of this most volcanic meeting being played behind closed doors.
Despite the unfortunate absence of supporters, the volume of coverage has not diminished.
Both teams have been winning of late, although Rangers prevailing over Ross County and Celtic beating St Johnstone were hardly examples of either performing at their most fluid. Certain fatigue can possibly be explained due to successful Europa League exertions. Crucially, both Steven Gerrard and Neil Lennon need strategies to compete on several fronts these days.
For Rangers, their progression into the group stages of the Europa League had the bonus of allowing them to add Bongani Zungu from Amiens on loan. The South African international is, seemingly, the elusive ingredient that Gerrard has been looking for.
Zungu's apparent dynamism is an aspect the Ibrox manager himself can relate to. And the amount of competition for places at the club can only be a positive.
A key question for Celtic, meanwhile, is how to coax back the real Leigh Griffiths. The Covid ill-wind which has afflicted Odsonne Edouard and Ryan Christie provides an opening for the wayward striker. Griffiths has already contributed; a late goal in the scruffy win over Saints.
At the time of writing, it is unclear whether Edouard will have the go-ahead to play, with the Frenchman not due to fly into Glasgow until the day of the game. It appears unlikely.
The Edouard furore has ignited debate over the wisdom of undertaking international football at the present time, with the travel involved and its attendant risks to virus exposure. Whatever your level of interest in the international scene, Celtic have not been beneficiaries. James Forrest's ankle injury, ruling him out of facing Rangers, is another headache.
Lennon can at least count on Jeremie Frimpong whose fledgling exuberance has potential to stretch a Rangers defence which has conceded just three League goals so far. Fundamentally, Celtic have not maintained a firm grip on Scotland's silverware without overcoming obstacles.
Meanwhile, the Hoops' recruitment of loanee Diego Laxalt from AC Milan has been a diversion. Lennon sees something in the Uruguayan left-back that Milan coach Stefano Pioli hasn't, in view of his enthusiastic greeting of the new arrival, while hitting back at Parkhead legend Charlie Nicholas who criticised the club's hierarchy during the transfer window. Rangers have escaped equivalent degrees of criticism. If Celtic win the derby, the negative spotlight will flip to Ibrox.
Laxalt will get his chance - against Rangers or otherwise - although one wonders about the overall sense of this considering that, firstly, Milan have no objections to him featuring against them in the Europa League group games and, secondly, he is widely regarded as one of the Rossoneri's worst ever signings.
How do you call this one? Both teams unbeaten with Rangers, holding slight advantage at the top, having largely been in superb, consistent form, while Celtic still have to find an extra level. Despite Lennon having greater selection issues, a share of the spoils appears the most probable conclusion.