Scott Brown claims Celtic’s mid-season break was more important than the pain of losing to Rangers in sparking their impressive domestic form in 2020.
Celtic have extended their lead at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership from two points to 13 since their derby defeat on December 29.
Brown had to watch Rangers players celebrating a victory at Celtic Park for the first time in nine years before going three weeks without a game.
There was plenty of time to stew over the setback but Celtic have excelled since the return, taking 28 points from a possible 30 and reaching the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals, while Rangers have toiled.
And Brown claims it was the time out of action that helped rather than any jolt from their derby loss.
“It was more the week in Dubai, working hard,” he said.
“It was sore to take, obviously. We understood that. We had two weeks to reflect, to work hard and understand how we could put that right.
“Since we came back we have been in great form and we just need to make sure we continue that as the season goes on.
“Dubai has been good for us the last three years. We have had a mini pre-season, worked extremely hard, had some chill time as well.
“We worked on a 3-5-2, we worked on a 4-2-3-1. It was hard to get training sessions in during December with the nine or 10 games we had.
“It was a good time for us to reflect on what we maybe didn’t do well in the first part of the season and what we can go out and do better in the second part.”
Some have claimed the post-match celebrations of the Rangers players and coaching staff were premature and over the top following their Celtic Park win, especially in light of their subsequent form.
But Brown steered clear of such territory in his pre-match media conference.
“Fair play, they won the game, they deserved to celebrate,” he said. “We will wait to see what happens on Sunday.”
When asked about having added motivation to put the defeat right, he said: “We are desperate for any game to come around. We are in a good place now, we are playing well, we just need to make sure we keep our current form going.
“We don’t worry about anyone else, we just worry about the lads that are in that dressing room and how well we can play and how well each other can push each other on.”