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Celtic v Rangers: Brendan Rodgers previews Old Firm game

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Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has warned Rangers they will face “the best version of the team since I’ve been here” in this weekend’s Old Firm derby.

Rodgers’ side will host Rangers on Saturday at lunchtime with a three-point advantage and a superior goal difference in the Scottish Premiership table.

A victory for the home team would give them a six-point lead with two games to play – and a goal difference at least seven better than Philippe Clement’s side.

While Rangers stuttered with a draw and a defeat following the 3-3 Old Firm draw in early April, Celtic have won their past three games to resume their grip on the title race.

“When I look at the injuries and disruptions we’ve had this season, last weekend was about there in terms of availability, fitness and where the team is at,” Rodgers told CelticTV.

“It’s as good a place as we’ve been all season. When we will arrive into this weekend’s game, this will be the best version of the team since I’ve been here.”

Rodgers was delighted with the energy his side showed in the 3-0 victory against third-placed Heart of Midlothian last weekend.

The Northern Irishman – who returned to Celtic last summer but was under pressure in February as Rangers went top of the table – was impressed with how “synchronised with and without the ball” his team was.

“It’s not a choice, it’s an obligation. It’s what you have to do. We are a running team. When we run, penetrate, press, counter-press… that’s our game,” he added.

“When we take the game to that level we play the game to a good level.

“That was the pleasing thing against a good Hearts team. Steven [Naismith] has coached them well to build through the pitch, but after the first 10-15 minutes we got our pressing right and the team was really compact and tight.”

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