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BIG YOGI HAILS ‘BRAVE’ BRENDAN

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CELTIC legend John Hughes reckons Brendan Rodgers will remain unbeaten after his 13th Glasgow derby this afternoon.

The Hoops manager goes into the clash against the Ibrox outfit with a record of 10 wins and two draws from his previous outings.

Big Yogi, the club’s seventh-highest scorer with 189 goals, said: “It’s a phenomenal sequence of results and underlines the qualities of the Celtic manager.

“He is not afraid of making big decisions during games and his success rate in these moments is nothing short of incredible.

“Look at last season’s game in March at Ibrox, for instance. It was stalemated at 2-2 when Jozo Simunovic was ordered off with over half-an-hour to play.

“Most team bosses would have closed things down and probably put on an extra defender.

“That can be dangerous, of course, because you are giving away space further up the pitch to your opponents and affording them the opportunity to build from the back.

“You have to be brave to take stock of the situation and put on a forward, but that’s exactly what Brendan did.

“He sent on Odsonne Edouard to give Rangers something else to think about and it’s history now the big French lad curled in the winning goal.

“I can’t think of too many managers who would have made that choice.”

Hughes, 75, also looked back at Celtic’s win at Parkhead in September when Rodgers came face to face with his former Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard for the first time as a rival boss.

He said: “It was 1-0 going on 5-0 for my old club. Rangers came into the game on the back of a lot of hype, but as I recall they produced next to nothing in an attacking sense.

“And don’t forget that James Forrest, Mikael Lustig and Oliver Ntcham all hit the crossbar before the French midfielder got the winner.

“And Leigh Griffiths also rattled the upright after that. I’ve played in games against Rangers where we have had the bulk of the possession and come off with just a draw or, even worse, a defeat.

“Thankfully, Ntcham got the only goal of the game, but Celtic shouldn’t have been waiting for more than a hour to get the breakthrough strike.”

The Hoops great believes his old club will celebrate their eighth successive Premiership crown at the end of the season.

He added: “No doubt there will be some work done in the transfer market next month and Brendan Rodgers will spend the money carefully to bring in the right sort of quality.

“I just can’t see any reason for the team being derailed.

“A win in this one will give Celtic a six-point cushion with a game in hand and you would expect them to come back even stronger in the second part of the campaign.”

* DON’T miss in the unbeatable match report from this afternoon’s encounter at Ibrox – in your champion CQN. 

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