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‘WE’LL BE READY FOR BACKLASH,’ CELTIC BOSS

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CELTIC boss Brendan Rodgers insists the Hoops are prepared for a backlash as Sevco Rangers attempt to salvage some pride at Parkhead tomorrow.

The champions will lift their seventh successive Premiership title if they overcome the Ibrox side.

But Rodgers is aware the club’s Glasgow neighbours will still be hurting from their 4-0 Scottish Cup semi-final mauling a fortnight ago.

The Hampden hammering was the 10th derby in a row the Govan outfit have failed to overturn the Hoops, losing eight and drawing two.

Rodgers said: “We’ve played 10 times now and there’s been different elements and tactics to the games.

“You can only cope with what’s in front of you and prepare your players for different scenarios.

What got lost a wee bit last time was that we played really well. There were a lot of reports about how Rangers played tactically, but we played well and sometimes that can nullify an opponent.

“Their tactics might have worked well on a different day, but we were aggressive and we had the calmness to play football.

“That’s what we will be looking for again. We will be ready for whatever Rangers throw at us.”

Club legend Billy McNeill secured his first league title as Celtic manager in his debut season with a 4-2 win at home to the Govan side, then managed by John Grieg, 39 years ago.

HOW’S THAT FOR OPENERS? Tom Rogic slots in the first goal in the 4-0 rout at Hampden with Graham Dorrans, James Tavernier and Ross McCrorie getting a close-up view.

Rodgers said: “I was six then! It was a long, long time ago. I think, of course, you want to win the league as soon as you can.

“Last year, we won it away at Hearts. If you can do it in front of your own fans and against one of your big rivals, then great, but the job is to get it done.

“I am sure it is going to be a great occasion. The noise and atmosphere will be electric.

“There will be that special added factor that we can win the league.

“But we have to stay calm and focused on the game and that has been my approach in every one of these games.

“They are always full of emotion and passion, but, within all of that, you have to perform and, hopefully, we will hope to do that as we have done in the previous 10 games.

“There’s certainly no complacency. No matter the 10 games previously, you need to go and prove yourself in the next one.”

Rodgers added: “It’s like winning the treble. It’s one of these things people have talked about not happening for a long time.

“We can only affect modern history. We respect the great history and values of the club but our job is to create our own. If we can tick another box and make history, then great.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity. In the big games, it’s about staying calm – don’t feel too trapped by all of the stuff around it.”

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