In Focus: Celtic victory at Ibrox will wash recent criticism away

As reported by The Daily Record, Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has spoken about Sunday’s massive clash away to Rangers, believing the pressure will be on the home side to produce a performance.

What’s the story?

Rangers have won their last six matches in all competitions, scoring 23 goals in the process, their best form this season by far.

It sets up a mouth-watering encounter against Celtic next week, who are themselves turning a corner after a difficult night away to FC Zenit recently.

The Hoops have dominated the fixture over the last few years and are undefeated against the Light Blues since Brendan Rodgers arrived in Glasgow, picking up some massive victories along the way, including a 5-1 scoreline at Ibrox.

The Celtic boss believes the pressure Rangers will face in front of their own supporters could play a factor this weekend.

As quoted by The Daily Record, Rodgers said:

They’re all pressure games of course but it’s a huge pressure for them to be playing at home, which can be difficult for them. Their record is better away than at Ibrox. But they’re great games and we cannot wait. I’ve really enjoyed them, home and away, and our performances away from home have been absolutely brilliant. The two last year were very good in different ways, particularly the second one, and earlier this season we dominated the game.

Given Rangers’ only two draws against the Bhoys over the last two seasons have come at Celtic Park, does Rodgers have a point about them struggling with the derby at Ibrox?

How big is this derby?

Celtic are six points ahead of Rangers, with a game in hand, so Sunday’s fixture is the most important derby clash for years, outside of knockout matches at Hampden.

A shock win for Graeme Murty’s side would cut Celtic’s Scottish Premiership lead to just three points, guaranteeing a much-hyped title race in the closing stages of the season.

On the other hand, a win for the Hoops would put the league title beyond doubt and send them well on their way to a seventh league title in a row.

Rodgers will know that there’s huge pressure on his side as well, especially after recent poor results and performances.

However, given the high stakes nature of the derby, all that criticism will wash away if they beat their bitter rivals. Will that focus Celtic’s minds and ensure there’s no complacency?