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Celtic's Brendan Rodgers 'loving life as an Old Firm boss'

By Andy Newport

Brendan Rodgers has urged the two sides of Glasgow's Old Firm divide to show both passion and respect when their teams face off at Hampden tomorrow.

The Celtic boss has been struck by the intensity of life north of the border since taking over at Parkhead earlier this summer.

But he insists he has experienced none of the nastiness the fixture is capable of provoking while out and about in the city.

And the Ulsterman hopes it stays that way when his team take on Rangers in the Betfred Cup semi-finals at Hampden.

Last month's Ladbrokes Premiership clash between the sides was marred by the conduct of both supports, with the Celtic faithful criticised after effigies were hung from the Parkhead stands while the Gers fans were guilty of trashing a toilet.

Police Scotland have already warned those attending tomorrow's game to be on their best behaviour after confirming extra officers will be on duty during the match.

Speaking ahead of his first ever visit to the National Stadium, Rodgers said: "I've never had any trouble since I've been up here. I've enjoyed my football life and my social life outside of here.

"Any Rangers supporters I've met on my journey up here have been very respectful.

"I understand that when you manage or play for Celtic that it is a really privileged position.

"But I think it's important, whether you are a Rangers supporter or a Celtic supporter, you can be really passionate about your club. You can love your club - it can be your life.

"But we have to live together and respect each other's passions.

"Going into this weekend's game, give all your support but respect what the result is and move on afterwards."

Gers have been doing their best to move on from the 5-1 pasting they received at Celtic Park.

It was a painful defeat which brutally exposed the weaknesses in Rangers boss Mark Warburton's side.

Since then, though, Rangers have won three out of five and Rodgers acknowledged there have been improvements made by Celtic's fiercest rivals.

"They have some really talented individual players and they want to work the ball and create chances," he said.

"But my focus is always on my own team and we're always focused on what we can bring with our style. If we can impose that then, as we've seen before, we can give a lot of problems to opponents."

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