BRENDAN RODGERS believes Celtic have the psychological advantage over Rangers – but his players have still practised for another penalty shoot-out at Hampden.

The Hoops boss insists his team are confident after their 5-1 walloping of the Ibrox side last month, although he isn’t banking on another runaway derby triumph.

Rodgers said: “I expect it to be a tight game and you prepare for it to be that way.

“You have to be organised in terms of how you defend and we know we have the players who can hurt the opposition.
“Yes, we are prepared for penalties. We took some earlier in the week in training, as well. As long as it doesn’t go to a 14-13, as it did once when we beat Middlesbrough in a League Cup game at Liverpool.

“We were getting bored after a while, it was an unbelievable night.”
Celtic, of course, lost in the spot-kick shoot-out with Mark Warburton’s outfit after drawing 2-2 after extra-time in the Scottish Cup semi-final last season.
Scott Brown, Callum McGregor and Tom Rogic all missed from the spot against the Ibrox outfit who won 5-4 in the showdown.

The Cup exit sealed Ronny Deila’s fate at Parkhead and opened the door for former Liverpool gaffer Rodgers in the summer.
And the Irishman is adamant there is little Rangers can do tomorrow to surprise him with their line-up or tactical changes.

He added: “We’re focusing on it being another game, but when you play as well as we did in that last match, it helps psychologically.

“When you’ve scored five and could have had more and play as we did then you know you can beat the other team.
“It doesn’t necessarily make it any easier, but you know that you’ve done it. Still, this is a different game, a semi-final.
“We know that if we play as well again we’ll have a great chance of getting through to the Final. Time will tell if Rangers are better.

“I can only judge them on the last time we played them and we performed very well.

“They’ve obviously got one or two changes now within their team and when you win the way we did it creates a big motivation for the opponents not to let it happen again.

“Curve balls from Rangers? I don’t think so. Mark Warburton was probably disappointed about how they played last time, simple as that.

“I know he spoke in the game about being brave and getting on the ball, but he is very clear on how he has asked his team to play since he has been at Rangers.

“I don’t expect it to change too much for Sunday.”


About Author

Loading ...