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Our teams won't lose the plot, claim Old Firm's Warburton and Rodgers

By Steven Beacom

Celtic and Rangers players will stay composed in the red-hot atmosphere of today's Old Firm clash at Parkhead, according to managers Brendan Rodgers and Mark Warburton.

The hype has been building all week ahead of the first league meeting between the sides since 2012 and with fiery characters like Scott Brown and Joey Barton desperate to win the all-important midfield battle, many expect the intensity to boil over.

Rodgers and Warburton are hoping to keep a lid on it, though acknowledge that on an occasion like this passions will run high both on the pitch and off it.

Celtic boss Rodgers stated: "We have a lot of players that have been around this game and experienced it.

"I have really sensed that they can't wait to get playing and working.

"You don't need to motivate them, but of course you have to stay calm to tactically participate in the game. You have to have good composure."

Warburton is well aware that with Celtic at home his team can expect to take some serious stick, but believes they can handle it.

"It's a feisty atmosphere. We are going into a local derby with 60,000 fans, 52,500 of which will be backing one side," said Warburton, who worked with Rodgers when the Carnlough native was in charge at Watford.

"We recognise that. We're pros. They (the players) are pros.

"It's about being consistent in the quality of your work and it's no different in this industry as well.

"We have to go into what's a good atmosphere, on a good playing surface, and deliver a performance. That's our job."

Rangers skipper Lee Wallace is fit for the big Glasgow derby after pulling out of the Scotland squad last week while Celtic are hoping influential striker Leigh Griffiths can overcome an injury concern to start for them.

It may be early days in the Scottish Premiership title race, but both sets of fans, sure to create a sensational atmosphere, will know that Celtic would take control of the title race by winning.

Rangers will enter the kick-off at noon one point adrift of their fiercest rivals, having already played one game more.

Belfast Telegraph


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