JONJOE KENNY is hoping to be a screen star on Sunday.
Celtic’s on-loan Everton right-back is poised to take his bow in a Glasgow derby when Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox side are the visitors to Parkhead for the High Noon showdown.
And the former England Under-20 international admitted he will miss the atmosphere that can be generated by the Hoops fans in a home encounter against their neighbours, but he hopes silence will be golden on this occasion.
Kenny, 24, said: “As a player, I thrive off fans, especially being at home. What the supporters bring is massive and, of course, the fanbase here is huge. I’ve seen videos of the atmosphere and fans singing before and during the game.
“I’ve seen the effects of the atmosphere and the fans make up a massive part of the game. However, although we can’t benefit from their support right now, it’s important we still bring that passion into the game while keeping cool at the same time.”
Kenny, who has figured in Merseyside encounters with Liverpool, told the Celtic match programme: “Everyone here knows what a derby is like. All the players have played in some sort of derby, but I know this is one of the biggest derbies in the world.
PENALTY-BOX PANDEMONIUM…Callum McGregor deflects in the Ibrox side’s winner in January.
“I’m really looking forward to this and it’ll be another big moment in my career. I can’t wait to get going. All the players know what this is about.
“You need to try and not get too emotional and be as calm-headed as possible which is difficult to do knowing how big the game is and what it means to people around the club.
“In the Merseyside derby, you don’t have to think about the game too much leading up to it and that can be hard because it’s well documented. You’ve got to take it day by day and enjoy the occasion.”
The Hoops have suffered the ignominy of two back-to-back losses in a wretched campaign, folding 2-0 at Parkhead in October and being on the receiving end of some of the worst luck imaginable in Govan shortly after the turn of the year when, after bossing the match for an hour, they had Nir Bitton red-carded before Callum McGregor deflected a right-wing corner-kick beyond Vasilis Barkas for the only goal of a tense confrontation.
The Celtic players will be given the opportunity for revenge at the weekend while stopping the rot and inflicting the first league defeat of the season on their visitors.
Even without the backing of the phenomenal support, they can become screen gems in the game that will be beamed live worldwide.