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Celtic comfortable as favourites while Rangers eye repeat upset



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Kieran Tierney puts a thumb up to Celtic fans after their 4-1 win over Aberdeen

Kieran Tierney is expected to start after pulling out of the Scotland squad last week

Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths is a doubt for the first Old Firm clash of the season after a hamstring injury.

But left-back Kieran Tierney, who also pulled out of the Scotland squad for the win in Malta, should be fit.

Rangers skipper Lee Wallace, another to miss Scotland duty, is fit and Danny Wilson should overcome a calf strain.

Martyn Waghorn and Josh Windass are both in contention following injuries, Philippe Senderos could make his debut and Jason Holt could be on the bench.

But striker Joe Dodoo (ankle) is out for about five weeks while Matt Crooks is still working his way back from ankle surgery.

Celtic comfortable with favourites’ tag

Celtic, aiming for a sixth straight Scottish Premiership title, have started the season with three straight league wins and lead the table by a point from Rangers, who have played a game more.

Brendan Rodgers grins as he oversees Celtic training this week<!–

Rodgers, who has never been to an Old Firm game, is excited about his first one

Manager Brendan Rodgers, who will be experiencing his first Old Firm fixture, is relaxed about the expectations on his side, who are overwhelming favourites to win the first league fixture between the two clubs in four years.

“We are not running away to say that we don’t want to be the favourites for the game,” he said.

“Whether we were playing Rangers, Aberdeen, St Johnstone, Hearts, whoever we play at home, the objective going into the game is to win.

“It’s a huge game, a big game, but one that we want to win, like every game at Celtic Park.

“More importantly, the way the team is playing, the energy and ambition of the team has given the supporters something to be proud of so far and the atmosphere will be incredible.

“Every derby is different. Having experienced derbies before there is a uniqueness to each one and this is iconic throughout the world. I am really looking forward to it.”

Rangers ‘confident’ of repeat upset

Rangers have drawn two of their first four games and won the other two narrowly on their return to the top flight.

Kenny Miller celebrates his goal for Rangers in last season's Scottish Cup semi-final<!–

Miller celebrates scoring the opening goal in last season’s Scottish Cup semi-final

But despite failing to hit the heights so far, striker Kenny Miller insists the Ibrox side remain confident they can repeat last season’s Scottish Cup semi-final victory – on penalties – over their great city rivals.

“We have a confidence in what the manager wants us to do,” said the former Celtic and Scotland striker. “We have just not put it together as much this season as last season.

“Whether that’s the increased level of opposition, or whether that’s trying to bed in new signings, we have turned over 20 players in the last two summers.

“That’s a lot of lads to come in and gel. It always takes time; this season has just taken a little bit longer.

“We are disappointed we have maybe not performed as well, but we are still going into it with belief in what we are doing.

“It’s a different challenge this time. When you play them at Parkhead, it’s a different atmosphere but we will still be going there looking to dominate the ball, create chances and score goals. We know we have the game to hurt anybody.

“We appreciate we will have to tighten up in the back area, they have players that can hurt us. But if we can do that then we are more than confident we can get the right result.”

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Old Firm classics: Celtic 3-3 Rangers


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