MOHAMED ELYOUNOUSSI’S taste of the action against Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox side last season was a mixture of despair and delight.
The on-loan Southampton forward was a surprise starter against the Govan outfit in the Betfred League Cup Final at Hampden on December 8.
Elyounoussi had suffered a foot injury while on international duty with Norway the previous month that had ruled him out of a string of Premiership games.
However, he got the nod to face Gerrard’s outfit with the Hoops looking for their tenth successive domestic trophy.
Unfortunately, Elyounoussi struggled to make an impact in the first-half that ended goalless and was replaced at the interval. The Moroccan-born left-sided raider was on the bench when Christopher Jullien scored the game’s only goal on the hour mark.
Now the exciting attacker is hoping to last the course at Parkhead this afternoon – if, of course, he again gets the green light from the manager.
Elyounoussi, speaking to this week’s Celtic View, said: “Like everyone else, I’m looking forward to this game. It would be nice if the fans were there, but that doesn’t take away how huge the game is.
“We have a big squad and good strength and I’m sure everyone who plays will do everything for the club.”
The 26-year-old was forced to sit out the Premiership encounter in the east end of Glasgow on December 29 when the Hoops lost for the first time at home in nine years to their Glasgow rivals.
Elyounoussi added: “Whatever happens in the past stays there, we focus on the one in front of us. We don’t think about the last game at all, we’re only focused on what’s ahead.
“Fitness-wise, I’m good. I played 90 minutes on Wednesday with my country, but by tomorrow I’m certain I’ll have fresh legs. We’ve done everything to be prepared, so that won’t be a problem. It doesn’t matter who we play against, it’s the same mission. We want to do everything we can to win and we’re fully prepared for it.
“The derby is as big as it can get. It’s one of the biggest games in the world. I’m looking forward to this one. It’s a huge game, one we hope to win and we know there will be a lot of fans watching and we’ll do everything we can to make them happy.”
* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v Rangers this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.