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Tierney: Old Firm battles will always be enticing

By Gavin McCafferty

Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney cannot get enough of facing Rangers.

Brendan Rodgers' runaway Ladbrokes Premiership leaders were on Sunday drawn to face Gers in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final - a match that will take place on April 23 - and this weekend the pair go head-to-head in the league at Parkhead.

By the end of this campaign, the Glasgow rivals will have played each other at least six times - seven if there is a Cup replay - but Tierney will never tire of the rivalry.

He said: "There's not too many. It's the game everyone looks forward to, but any game for Celtic I look forward to.

"I'm always up for every single game, no more than every other game. I like every single minute on the park. I give my all."

Tierney missed the Hoops' 2-1 win at Ibrox over the festive period as he recovered from ankle and shoulder injuries, but the boyhood Hoops fan savoured the other side of the fixture.

"I just went in the crowd," he said. "Moussa (Dembele) and Scotty (Sinclair) scoring, it was some day for us.

"I was obviously gutted - you don't like missing any games - but the boys did well and it was a memory that I will never forget. It was a great day. It was just like being younger going to the games with my dad and my family.

"You don't realise how much you want to play for Celtic until getting injured. I obviously wanted to play for Celtic with my full heart but having those couple of months out just makes you appreciate it so much more."

Ibrox forward Martyn Waghorn claimed recently that his side were the team most likely to end Celtic's unbeaten domestic record. Ulsterman Rodgers' men have won 26 of their 27 league games this term, with the other match drawn.

Tierney was diplomatic in his response ahead of Sunday's Parkhead clash.

"He has obviously got his opinion," said the 19-year-old, who was promoting the £25,000 Paradise Windfall club draw jackpot on offer at Sunday's game. "But it's just down to us to train hard every single day, 100 per cent, and get better every day in training, and when it comes to the game we will be fully prepared."

Celtic are 33 points ahead of third-placed Rangers and the Premiership leaders will ensure beyond mathematical doubt that they will finish above them if they remain unbeaten after Sunday.

"The points gap is big but that's not come easy," Tierney said. "We have worked hard since day one for that, every single day since pre-season. We are obviously doing well but it's not come easy."

Manager Rodgers claimed after Sunday's 4-1 Scottish Cup win over St Mirren that the Championship's bottom club were the best Scottish team they had faced all term.

And Tierney partly agreed, saying: "One of them, anyway."

The Scotland international continued: "The first half we saw that - they went in ahead at half-time and that hasn't happened much this season.

"All credit goes to them. They were a really good side and very well organised.

"They were very good on that day. I have not played them every week, I have not played them three or four times.

"People think if we are winning by more than three goals it's an easy game. I don't think there's any easy games. Every game is hard, we need to win the battle first and our quality will shine through. But every game is hard, both home and away."

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