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Celtic V Rangers at Celtic Park : Match Preview
Published : 27 Dec 2011 18:01:24
Lennon wary of Rangers threatNeil Lennon warned his Celtic side about "dangerous" Rangers ahead of the Old Firm clash at Parkhead.The Hoops' 2-1 win over Kilmarnock at the weekend extended their winning run in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League to eight games to take them to within one point of their city rivals at the top of the table.At one stage the gap between the two clubs was 15 points - albeit Celtic had two games in hand - but the champions have slipped up in recent weeks and their lacklustre 2-1 defeat at St Mirren on Christmas Eve gives Lennon's men the opportunity to lead the table going into 2012.Celtic head into the match as favourites but the Parkhead boss was keen to dampen down the prospect of anyone in the Hoops camp taking victory for granted."Rangers are always dangerous opposition, regardless of the situation or the timing of the game," he said."So I don't think the mentality of either team will change going into the game. We know if we win we go top and our focus is on winning. If that's the rewards then so be it."We want to make our home advantage count and keep the winning run going, it's very important to the players."We are in a good vein of form but we are playing our biggest rivals and there is not much between the teams at the minute."Our form has been slightly better than Rangers' but they are the champions and they won the last Old Firm game so I don't think there is much in it."Celtic winger James Forrest is a doubt for the clash after suffering a tight hamstring in the 2-1 Clydesdale Bank Premier League win over Kilmarnock at the weekend.Striker Georgios Samaras should shrug off a heavy cold while forward Anthony Stokes and right-back Adam Matthews have recovered from their respective calf and ankle injuries and are back in the squad.Rangers manager Ally McCoist has stressed the importance of his players keeping their discipline.The Scottish champions witnessed the dismissals of Lee McCulloch and Dorin Goian in Saturday's 2-1 Clydesdale Bank Premier League defeat at St Mirren.Although McCoist thought both of those red cards were harsh - the club has appealed against McCulloch's sending-off - the Rangers boss will be mindful of what happened the last time they visited Celtic Park.Steven Whittaker, Madjid Bougherra and El-Hadji Diouf were all shown red cards on a night of drama which saw the Hoops triumph in the Scottish Cup tie thanks to Mark Wilson's winner.McCoist said: "Discipline is vitally important in all games, that goes without saying."We believe the [McCulloch] sending-off effectively cost us the game against a good St Mirren side."It's important you show discipline and keep your players on the park in every game."I know this game will be shown all over the world, so it's probably more important."Dorin Goian will miss the Old Firm derby through suspension after picking up two yellow cards in the Christmas Eve meeting with Saints.Steven Whittaker picked up a slight knock at the weekend but should be fit for the visit to Celtic Park.
Celtic V Rangers - view commentary, squad, and statictics of the game live.