Celtic: Brendan Rodgers says Ibrox vacancy will not affect derby

Celtic training
Rodgers will take charge of his fourth Old Firm derby on Sunday
Celtic v Rangers
Date: Sunday, 12 March Venue: Celtic Park Kick-off: 12:00 GMT
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland; live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers believes Sunday's opponents Rangers will not be adversely affected by being in between managers.

Interim manager Graeme Murty is likely to continue to be in charge of Rangers for the trip to Celtic Park.

Mark Warburton left Ibrox last month and Al-Gharafa's Pedro Caixinha has been given permission to join Rangers.

"The players are professional enough to get on with it," Rodgers said. "Graeme's done an excellent job."

Under-20s coach Murty has overseen the first team for Rangers' last five games - three wins and two defeats.

"It's not an easy situation when you're working with the younger players and then you've got to step into the position when the manager goes," said Rodgers.

"I'm sure whatever way it works out for him, he'll have benefited from it. Coming to Celtic Park on Sunday, I'm sure he's looking forward to it. The players have to be focused, and I'm sure they'll be coming to get a good result."

Graeme Murty
Former Scotland defender Murty has won his last two matches as Rangers' interim manager

Celtic have won all three Old Firm encounters this term, including a 5-1 league victory at Celtic Park in their first meeting of the season.

Rodgers believes his side were more dominant in the 1-0 Scottish League Cup semi-final victory over Rangers and could have scored more than twice in December's 2-1 Premiership win at Ibrox.

"Celtic v Rangers, the games I've been involved in so far, have been fantastic and of course we played well in the three games and got the result," explained Rodgers. "We always anticipate a tough game and I'm sure this one will be no different.

"It's a real intense affair, the supporters are really passionate, and the Celtic Park game was a great start, being the first one for us, so if we can play to that level and to how we have been for most of the season then we hope that can get us a result.

"What this team has shown through the season is that they can win all types of games. We can win a footballing game, we can win when it's a battle, we can win games when teams are sat in and defending deep, compact, we find a way through. If a game is stretched and open we have the power and the pace to exploit.

"Last week [in the 4-1 Scottish Cup win against St Mirren], we showed that when we weren't anywhere near to our level in the first half, that we could then turn the screw and put in a better performance in the second half.

"It's a team that's improving all the time, although there are still lots of improvements to make. We've shown whoever the opponent has been that we've found answers."

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