BRENDAN RODGERS insists Celtic do NOT need to win at Ibrox tomorrow.

The champions, bidding for their twelfth title in 13 years, go into the third derby of the campaign with a one-point advantage over their city rivals who have a game in hand.

Rodgers has enjoyed success in his two fixtures in this rarefied atmosphere since his return to the Hoops in June.

Kyogo Furuhashi flashed in a memorable volley for the winner in Govan in September and the Japanese speedster repeated the achievement when he curled in a stunning second strike in the 2-1 triumph at Parkhead just before the turn of the year.

Paulo Bernardo had thundered in a first-time opener on that occasion, but the hosts allowed their opponents back into the contest when a James Tavernier free-kick eluded Joe Hart to set up a nervy finale with 10 minutes added on to heighten the tension.

JOLLY RODGERS…delighted Celtic boss Brendan acknowledges the support after the 2-1 derby triumph at Parkhead in December.

Looking forward to the third instalment of the globally-renowned confrontation, Rodgers said: “It’s clearly a game we want to win, but we don’t need to.

“There are still six other games and we’ll play Rangers again, but there’s no doubt we want to attack the game and, of course, we go in with the mindset to win.

“It’s certainly not done either way whatever happens at the weekend.

“Our focus coming into this game is just playing at the level we want to play at from a football context and that’s always been my approach anytime we’ve played these games, which are fantastic games to be involved in.

“These games are very heated, there are a lot of storylines leading into the games, but I’ve always seen them as opportunities to showcase your quality and your talent as a football player.

“Thankfully, in the main, my teams have been able to do that.”

THE THINKER…Brendan Rodgers contemplates his next move. Image courtesy Celtic TV.

The 51-year-old Irishman, speaking to Sky Sports, continued: “We went there earlier on in the season and I think it was not only a great lesson in football but also in life because when we arrived in that game individually and collectively we were written off.

“Rangers were on the up and were ready for us while we had players missing.

“We showed collectively if you stay together and you focus and work hard and play to your level you’ll always be in with a chance to be the victor and that was the case.”

Rodgers added: “Rangers will want to win the game, they’ve obviously done well this season. For us, we’re there to compete and be competitive.

“You always have to be strong mentally away from home at Ibrox which is what we aim to be.”

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