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Murty eyes rare Rangers win over Celtic


Glasgow (AFP) – Rangers manager Graeme Murty says his side are capable of claiming a shock Old Firm derby win against Celtic — but only if they deliver their best performance of the season.

Murty’s side, who have taken just one point off their bitter rivals since returning to the top tier in 2016, head into Saturday’s clash trailing 11 points behind Celtic in the Scottish Premiership.

However, the champions have recently lost their air of invincibility with a record-breaking 69-match unbeaten run halted by Hearts earlier this month.

Brendan Rodgers’ side have also dropped more points this season than they did during the whole of the previous campaign when they claimed a historic treble.

Murty — recently installed as manager until the end of the season — says wins away to Hearts, Aberdeen and Hibs will give his players confidence for their final match before the league’s three-week winter break. 

“The boys have to gain some measure of encouragement and enthusiasm from that. We do know we are capable of playing at a level,” he said.

“But we know against Celtic we are going to have to be at that level for the whole game.

“It’s the Old Firm derby — it’s one of the biggest and best games in the world — so any time that game comes around we have to be at our top level.

“We have to make sure we concentrate on delivering our best performance of the season.”

– ‘Just a one-off’ –

Celtic captain Scott Brown admits his team will be wary of facing an improved Rangers under Murty, who guided them to their only point against their rivals since returning to the top flight a 1-1 draw last season in a previous spell as caretaker manager.

Celtic have won three successive league matches since losing to Hearts and Brown warned Rangers not to take any inspiration from that “one-off” defeat.

“Everyone is going to think after the Hearts game if they press us high up the park and put us under a bit of pressure that we will bottle it,” he said.

“But, we have played against so many different teams that play different styles and philosophies we can manage anything. That game was just a one-off.

“Rangers-Celtic games are always good. There is so much hype among the fans and from the press about the game coming up.

“It is more about us just getting the job done and making sure we are focused on it, making that a priority just before going into 2018.”

Fixtures (1500GMT unless otherwise stated)

Saturday

Celtic v Rangers (1200), Aberdeen v Hearts, Hibernian v Kilmarnock, Motherwell v Hamilton, Partick Thistle v Ross County, St Johnstone v Dundee

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