Celtic v Rangers: Brendan Rodgers looks forward to 'special' Old Firm fixture

Brendan Rodgers and Graeme Murty
Brendan Rodgers and Graeme Murty faced each earlier this year at Celtic Park

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers does not expect Rangers counterpart Graeme Murty to spring any shocks in Saturday's Old Firm derby.

Murty, who guided his side to a 1-1 draw at Celtic Park while in interim charge last season, is now Rangers boss full-time until the summer at least.

"They look more direct," Rodgers said.

"Graeme's changed his shape a few times, but it's pretty much the same players and I don't think there will be too many surprises for us."

Murty was placed in charge of Rangers following the departure of Mark Warburton in February this year, during which time he led them to that Old Firm derby draw last March.

Pedro Caixinha was then made manager but after his sacking in October, Murty was again placed in interim charge.

He's earned that opportunity

The former Scotland and Reading full-back was named manager until the summer following Rangers' unsuccessful attempt to secure Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes.

"I'm just glad for Graeme that he eventually got the job until the end of the season," Rodgers added. "It's never easy and at least there is some sort of clarity for him after a long period of time.

"He's clearly good at his job. He's still held with a respect within the club. He's earned the right to get that opportunity and he'll be looking to put his own stamp on it between now and the end of the season to make sure he gets the job on a longer basis."

Rodgers has yet to taste defeat in an Old Firm match and, with his side currently enjoying an eight point lead over second-placed Aberdeen and an 11-point lead over Rangers in third, he is focussed on putting more daylight between his troops and their rivals.

Clint Hill scored for Rangers
Clint Hill scored the equaliser as Rangers earned a 1-1 draw at Celtic Park last season

"They're always special fixtures wherever they are, but of course it's always special to play them at Celtic Park," he added. "It being the last game of what has been an incredible year for us, we obviously want to win it.

"They're always pressure games and ones you look forward to. We want to make our supporters proud and we want to win the game."

Celtic keeper Craig Gordon was impressed with Murty's Rangers side last season at Celtic Park, but has a clear idea of how his side go about winning on Saturday.

"We need to be aggressive and win the battle if we're going to get the chance to play football, so we know we have to stay calm but there has to be a controlled aggression within that as well to go and impose ourselves on the game and hopefully go and win it," he said.

"They did quite well under Murty the last time at Celtic Park, they came out and had a bit of a go. They played particularly well that day and deserved their draw that day."

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