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‘WE’RE STRONGER THAN WHEN WE BEAT YOU 5-1,’ BROWN WARNS WEAKENED RANGERS

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CELTIC skipper Scott Brown has warned Rangers that Celtic are fitter and stronger than they were on their last visit to Ibrox at the end of April which resulted in the Parkhead side thrashing their hosts by a record breaking margin of 5-1.

With Rangers likely to be without key defenders the Celtic forwards will be relishing the prospect of facing a weakened Ibrox side but for Brown, that is secondary to his own focus on how Celtic will set about their own business tomorrow.

“We’ll concentrate on our own game,” said Brown. “We’ll play the way we play and hopefully have a lot more of the ball than Rangers and create chances.

“You’ve seen us over the last season-and-a-half, we’re getting stronger and fitter and better as well, so we’ll take that into the game tomorrow.

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“We’re focused on ourselves and nobody else. You have to respect your opponent whoever you’re playing against. It’s a huge game, we just want to go there and play our own game, play a possession-based game, create chances and hopefully get a result.

“It’s a hard place to go but it’s always a great place when you go there and win as well. We have great fans who will come along and support us throughout the 90 minutes.

“The gaffer is always pushing the bar as high as it can possibly go. He was delighted with our performance against Dundee in midweek but there’s always room for improvement and here’s hoping we can do that on Saturday.”

Brown was outstanding at Dundee on Wednesday evening and was also awarded the Man of the Match award last Saturday in the 4-0 win over Ross County at Celtic Park.

He is a certain starter for Celtic with Brendan Rodgers having some key decisions to make regarding the starting eleven. The Irishman has been rotating his squad to great effect this season and with the trip to Anderlecht looming next week, he may decide to conserve some legs tomorrow.

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For the Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha, it is more a case of getting a team together, given the injury situation that has worsened considerably over the last week.

His captain Lee Wallace picked up an injury in the game against Partick Thistle last Friday and  is expected to be out for two months.

Worse still is the speculation that both Bruno Alves and Declan John are out, with the Portuguese even being rumoured to have taken a flight out of Glasgow earlier today.

Danny Wilson has a calf strain and hasn’t trained all week. He is unlikely to feature while Jordan Rossiter, Niko Kranjcar and David Bates are all injured.

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