ANGE POSTECOGLOU insists he will not be distracted from taking care of business when Giovanni van Bronckhorst brings his players to Parkhead this afternoon.

The Celtic manager’s focus will not waver in the slightest from attempting to achieve a victory which will push the champions five points clear of their nearest challengers.

European kings Real Madrid are due in the east end of Glasgow on Tuesday evening as the Champions League Group F kicks off.

Asked about thoughts drifting towards Carlo Ancelotti and Co, Postecoglou smiled: “You know the answer, mate.

DERBY DELIGHTS…Ange Postecoglou embraces the matches against the Ibrox club.

“Look, that game will be great, but I would hate to think what our supporters would think if I somehow was looking at one game 24 hours out from a derby. All our focus is on what happens this weekend.

“After that we’ll look to Tuesday.”

Quizzed on the importance between the clashes with the Govan club and the headline-hitting Gallacticos, the Greek-Australian gaffer said: “It might be low key in your household, mate, but I can assure you I’ve not seen that to be the case.

“People haven’t failed to mention the fact we’re playing a derby. It’s a significant game.

“They have started the season strongly, as well, and we’ll have to play to the best of our ability. At the same time, we’ve been consistent and improved a little every week – and that’s what we’ll take into this game.

“We know we are hard to stop when we are at our best.”

GLASGOW BELONGS TO US…two-goal Reo Hatate and Daizen Maeda celebrate their derby debuts in February after the 3-0 rout at Parkhead that turned around the title race.

Postecoglou has been in charge of the Hoops in five derby challenges and has won two, lost two and drawn one.

The sequence shows a debut 1-0 loss at Ibrox, a 3-0 runaway success at Parkhead in February followed by a Cameron Carter-Vickers winner in a 2-1 away success, a 2-1 Scottish Cup semi-final extra-time defeat and a 1-1 home stalemate as Celtic closed in on their tenth title in 11 years.

Looking at these no-holds-barred confrontations, Postecoglou, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “Yeah, I absolutely love them. You want to be involved in big games and test yourself against the best all the time.

 “If you don’t enjoy these games you’re better off not being part of a club like this. It’s part of the attraction of this job. It doesn’t matter if it’s your sixth or sixtieth derby.

GOAL SALUTE…Greg Taylor acknowledges the Celtic fans after his strike in the Scottish Cup semi-final in April. Cameron Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt play it cool.

“Ask Callum McGregor or James Forrest if they are any less excited just because they’ve been here a while. We know the atmosphere will be great, the contest will be strong and you want to be in these environments.”

Quizzed on his thoughts on any mind-games advantage if Celtic move five points clear with a win on this occasion, the Hoops gaffer answered: “Zero, mate. If you look back to this time last year, we were probably five behind.

“I don’t buy into psychological boost stuff. I know other people do, but I don’t get it.

“If we are going to be champions it’s over 38 games, not in one game and it doesn’t matter how far ahead or behind you are at this stage.”

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v Rangers this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.


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