Saturday 23 March 2019

Celtic's Brown wary of improved Rangers ahead of Old Firm tie

Celtic skipper Scott Brown is wary of a Rangers side that has improved under new boss Graham Murty Photo: PA
Celtic skipper Scott Brown is wary of a Rangers side that has improved under new boss Graham Murty Photo: PA

Celtic captain Scott Brown is expecting to face an improved Rangers side under manager Graeme Murty in the Old Firm derby tomorrow.

Celtic are 11 points clear of Rangers in third, and eight ahead of Aberdeen in second, and will hope to extend that advantage with a win at Celtic Park.

Rangers returned to winning ways on Wednesday with a 2-0 victory over Motherwell, their first since Murty took permanent charge of the Glasgow club after initially being appointed as caretaker boss following the sacking of Pedro Caixinha in October.

"I think they (Rangers) have improved under Graeme (Murty)," said Brown.

"I think he has done a good job with them. It was obviously hard job coming in to be caretaker.

"It is a huge game for us. It is at Celtic Park so we have got to make sure that we dominate the game.

"We are all looking forward to it, plus it gives the fans the bragging rights for the next couple of weeks going into the winter break."

Celtic have won three in a row since Hearts brought an end to their 69-match record unbeaten run and Brown insists that his side have put that 4-0 defeat behind them and are looking to end the year on a high with victory over Rangers.

Brown said: "Everyone is going to think after the Hearts game that if they press us high up the park and put us under a bit of pressure that we will bottle it.

"But, we have played against so many different teams that play different styles and philosophies that we can manage anything. That game (against Hearts) was just a one-off.

"Rangers-Celtic games are always good. There is so much hype among the fans and from the press about the game coming up.

"It is more about us just getting the job done and making sure that we are focused on it, making that a priority just before going into 2018." Meanwhile, Murty is refusing to rule Ryan Jack out of the game despite the Ibrox battler being carried off on a stretcher against Motherwell.

The former Dons skipper suffered a painful knee injury after being caught by Steelmen defender Cedric Kipre late in the first half of Wednesday night's 2-0 win.

The new Gers boss says he is holding on to a slim hope that the 25-year-old could pull through in time to feature.

He said: "If there is a potential for him to be involved that will be great. If there isn't, we will obviously be disappointed."

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