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Brendan Rodgers will undoubtedly attack the Old Firm showdown in good form
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Brendan Rodgers will undoubtedly attack the Old Firm showdown in good form

Brendan Rodgers believes his in-form Celtic team are in top condition as they look to lift the Premier League trophy by beating title rivals Rangers on Saturday.

The Hoops go into the final Old Firm derby of the season at Parkhead knowing victory will put them six points clear of the Ibrox men with just two games remaining.

Rodgers feels his team, with all their key players fully fit and firing in their impressive 3-0 win over third-placed Hearts last weekend, have hit the boil at the perfect time as they look to end the season with a league and Scottish Gas Scottish Cup double.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt about it: we come into this weekend’s game and this will probably be the best version of the team I’ve had since I’ve been here (this season),” the manager said. Celtic television.

“If you look at the number of injuries we’ve had, and the disruptions, it felt like it was pretty much there last weekend, in terms of player availability and where the team is, and in terms of suitability as well.

“I think after another good week of work and concentration on the training pitch, we will arrive on Saturday in as good a place as we have been all season.”

A Rangers win would put them level on points with Celtic, who are currently five goals better off, so Rodgers knows the importance of home advantage this weekend.

“I said it before, after the last time we played at Ibrox, this game would be crucial for us to play in front of our own supporters, so I still feel exactly the same way,” he said.

Celtic
Celtic are buoyed by a 3-0 win over Hearts (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“The preparation is largely based on ourselves, always respecting the opponent and what they can bring to the match, but then looking at how we play and, ultimately, our process in the match.

“The crowd at the Hearts game was great for us. Their importance at this stage of the season and the fact that they really support the football aspect of the club and the team. We just saw that emotion roll down from the stands and onto the field.

“You see what it brings to the players and how they react to it. We need exactly the same thing next weekend and I know we will get that, because I think the supporters are happy with what they see in the team now. It should be a great occasion and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Rodgers feels Callum McGregor’s double challenge on Hearts pair Kenneth Vargas and Cammy Devlin in the second half of Saturday’s win shows the captain is now back to his intense best after returning to action last month following a discharged with an Achilles problem.

Callum McGregor
Callum McGregor is back in form after his injury (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“Callum’s importance to this team cannot be underestimated: the experience he brings, the quality, the approach to the game and how inspiring a leader he is,” Rodgers said.

“It was just about building him up and I felt then, the moment he made that run to challenge, not once but twice to win the ball, you really see what that brings to the supporters.

“That moment was really fantastic, for him and the team, but also for me to look at him and think that he is really back to the level he showed.”