Brendan Rodgers knows exactly what to expect when he takes Celtic to Ibrox on Saturday- a battle, writes Joe McHugh.
The hoops boss had barely commented on his side's 2-0 win over Ross County last night when the focus switched to Saturday's match against Rangers.
In terms of the title 'race' it means next to nothing as Celtic hold a 16 point lead over the Ibrox side having played a game less. Eighteen wins and a draw in the SPFL explains everything!
Taking Celtic to Ibrox however is about much more than three points and the lunchtime Hogmanay clash certainly isn't short of meaning.
It's the first time the two sides have met since the Ibrox Club re entered the fourth tier of Scottish football for the 2012–13 season, with over four years of resentment built up among the natives as they've watched Neil Lennon and Ronny Deila win five titles with just the date of the sixth title party to be arranged.
Mark Warburton's Rangers are an unconvincing bunch with last night's 1-1 draw at St Johnstone typical of their form.
Rodgers has developed a smooth running Celtic side but silky football will be set aside when the 12.15 whistle blows at Ibrox.
“It will be a battle,” the Celtic boss acknowledged. “There is no doubt about that. It will be a tough game. There is huge pressure on them to get the result at home. For us, we have played in big games under pressure this season and dealt well with it, stayed calm and got the result.
“We know it will be tough and it’s a game we are looking forward to. It finishes off a remarkable first half of the season for us. And we aim to go there and win.
“For us, it doesn’t matter what the result is on Saturday. We have had a fantastic start to the season and irrespective of the result, we will be happy with our work.
“We will go away, rest and recover and come back even better for the second half of the season but we are greedy. We want to win every game and that’s the attitude at the weekend.”
Celtic will be without the injured Tom Rogic for Saturday's match with Rodgers biggest decision being the choice between Moussa Dembele and Leigh Griffiths in attack.
Last night first half goals from Erik Sviatchenko and Stuart Armstrong earned Celtic full points against Ross County