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RODGERS AIMS TO EMPTY IBROX

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BRENDAN RODGERS admits he was delighted to see Ibrox half empty with 20 minutes still to play the last time Celtic visited Govan.

The Hoops were coasting towards an emphatic 5-1 victory over their opponents and the manager reckoned his players had taken care of business during a masterly display.

And Rodgers is plotting a repeat performance when they return on Saturday.

He said: “For every manager and player, it makes you feel that you’re working well. You are doing your job if the game’s over by 65 minutes. 

“In a 90-minute game, you can take huge credit for how you are playing at that stage.

“It was similar at Liverpool when we beat Newcastle away 6-0. We were 4-0 up after an hour then scored five and six quickly after that.

“It’s a big stadium, Newcastle’s, so to see that happen you’re thinking: ‘Okay, we’ve probably won the game.’

“If you are going to Ibrox and doing that against one of your great rivals and performing at that level, which was key for me, then it was pretty special.”

Asked if he would be discouraging Leigh Griffiths from his penchant for scarf-tying to stake out their territory, Rodgers added: “I think it’s important to celebrate – but in the right way. 

“I remember the Rangers (sic) boys got some criticism when they celebrated in the 1-1 game.

“Of course, they should celebrate – they’ve scored a late goal in a big game away at their rivals. Milk it, that’s what you should do.

“That’s a part of it, but you can’t cross the line. Go and celebrate with your fans, be with them, but always be sensible.”

Rodgers enjoyed five victories and a draw against their Glasgow rivals last season added: “I understand the emotions in these matches. You want them to be passionate, intense and aggressive. But it always has to be under control.

“Then if you can go and perform in them, and win, of course it’s special.

”Last season, we went into the Scottish Cup semi-final and were outstanding. Our performance level in every facet was good in a 2-0 win. 

“At Ibrox, the feeling was we would be under severe pressure from their play and the crowd and there was no way we could go and play like we did in the semi. 

“For the players to handle that side of it and perform like they did, and actually be disappointed we only scored five, made the performance outstanding.” 

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