Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Celtic's form means very little in this type of game, says Steven Davis

Steven Davis

Rangers midfielder Steven Davis insists Celtic's recent impressive form will count for nothing when they go head to head tonight.

The Hoops are aiming for their ninth consecutive Clydesdale Bank Premier League win when they play host to their biggest rivals in the second Old Firm derby of the season.

In contrast, Rangers' form has faltered in recent weeks and they head into the clash at Celtic Park on the back of a shock 2-1 defeat to St Mirren on Christmas Eve.

Davis said: "I'm not too sure what the stats are regarding the in-form team going into Old Firm games. I don't know if it's significant or not.

"It all sort of goes out of the window because there is such a fine line between the teams.

"Ever since I've been at the club, there hasn't been a lot between the two teams and Old Firm games are on a knife-edge. I don't see this one being any different.

"Celtic, I'm sure, are favourites with them being at home and on a decent run of form."

A single point is all that separates the Glasgow giants despite leaders Rangers boasting a 15-point advantage over Celtic at the beginning of November, albeit the Hoops had a couple of games in hand at that time.

Davis said: "We had a lead originally and, as players, we weren't too focused on that.

"But there is no getting away from the fact that we're disappointed the lead has been cut down in such a short period of time.

"But this is a good game for us coming up and one which hopefully we can go on another run from.

"Celtic are on a good run of form, like we were at the start of the season.

"You're not going to get that over the course of a full season, there are going to be dips in form and dips in results.

"Hopefully we have had our period of that and we can start another run tomorrow night.

"If we get the right result, we go into the new year top of the league and that's where we want to be.

"There is still such a long way to go in the season, we know we have to get a good level of consistency again."

The Northern Ireland midfielder added: "We want to bounce back and that's why there is no better game for us.

"We haven't been performing to our best level over the last month or so and we know that.

"This is a great game for us and everybody is well up for it and motivated for it. We are all looking forward to it and hopefully we can get the right result."

As well as the loss to Saints, Rangers have also suffered defeat against Kilmarnock and been held to draws by both St Johnstone and St Mirren in other recent outings.

And, despite acknowledging the importance of the Old Firm fixtures, Davis does not feel the meetings with Celtic necessarily decide the outcome of the SPL crown.

The midfielder said: "I wouldn't put it down to that and that alone.

"They have a big bearing in terms of giving you a boost for your next run of games and you want to get as many points off your nearest rivals as possible.

"But, ultimately, it's over the course of the season and what team shows the most consistency.

"This season, both teams have dropped a number of points that they maybe wouldn't have expected to.

"It's an important game for both sides."