BRENDAN RODGERS has admitted he has no fears of the hostile environment that awaits him at Ibrox this afternoon.
The Celtic manager has never set foot in the Govan ground before, but, having gone through away derby days as boss of Swansea and Liverpool, he will be unfazed by what lies in store.
He said: “There should be a great atmosphere and great intensity in the game, so we’re looking forward to it.
“They are always intense games, the game goes very quickly and, obviously, there’s big energy in them.
“I had a Swansea-Cardiff game and those are old school derbies. Lots of history between those two cities.
“The Goodison one is very intense. The idea is that you stay as calm as you possibly can, that you control your feelings, that you try and find a solution for the pressures of the game.
“I’m looking forward to it. I’ve never been to Ibrox before, although I’ve seen it and watched it many times before on the telly. I’m sure the welcome won’t be as nice as when we come to Parkhead, but so be it.
“We’ll deal with it.”
It is the first time Celtic will be at Ibrox since the old Rangers were liquidated in 2012 and, given the 16-point gap at the top of the table, there will be little pressure on the Parkhead side to get a result.
Regardless, though, of what happens over the course of the 90 minutes, Rodgers has called upon both sets of supporters to back their team, but leave any lingering resentments in the stadium.
The police have already visited both Lennoxtown and Murray Park to offer notice of the responsibilities each set of players and coaches hold.
The Hoops boss said: “This will be a game where both sets of supporters will have big passion for their teams. They will really get behind their team and that’s the way it should be.
“Our support certainly provide that in every game we play, wherever it is. That’s what you want.
“And after 90 minutes you’ll go away and get on with your life and talk about the game.
“I don’t need to lecture any supporters, in particular my own, but you want your supporters to be passionate, you want them to make as much noise as they possibly can and be vocal in their support and you want to always make it difficult for the opponent.”
IMPORTANT MESSAGE: AVOID THE TRAP BY RESPECTING THE SILENCE. They’ll be awfully disappointed if we do…then chant JOCK STEIN, JOCK STEIN, JOCK STEIN!