BRENDAN Rodgers insisted last night that he is not worried about the apparent confidence in the Rangers camp – because he has heard it all before.

Ibrox manager Graeme Murty revealed that his players had let out a roar when they were handed a tie with their city rivals in the last four of the William Hill Scottish Cup next month, but for the Northern Irishman there is nothing new about bullish noises emanating from the other side of the city.

Rodgers referenced a Rangers card display saying the club were ‘Going for 55’ at the start of his first season in Scottish football, at the beginning of a campaign which ended with the champions a whopping 30 clear of Aberdeen in second, with Rangers a further nine points further back.

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Asked if the noise from across the city was a source of motivation for his players, Rodgers replied: “Not really, because I’m not one to look over the fence to see what the neighbour has because that’s irrelevant to us. They obviously feel really, really confident but we’ve been there before – back when they were going for 55.

“It is a similar feeling, a similar noise,” he added. “If you have that expectancy then great, you have to go and deliver.

“For me, the focus is on ourselves. There’s no doubt Graeme has done a good job in stabilising the team and giving them more of a British core, bringing in one or two players who will work and run and some supporters of the club as well, for whom it will always mean a bit more. So you can’t ignore that but it’s not a worry – you just have to concentrate on bringing your best game.”

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While Celtic go into today’s match having won just one of their last three league matches, Rangers have won their last six in all competitions, scoring 23 goals and conceding six in the process. Rodgers, though, questioned the standard of the opposition they have faced over this period, with at least ten of those goals coming against Championship side Falkirk and League One outfit Ayr United. He feels a truer measure of their pedigree came in the 2-1 home defeat to title rivals Hibernian.

“It should be a fantastic game because they’re in decent form, even though the goals they’ve scored have come against Championship teams, with all due respect,” said Rodgers. “The one game of theirs I watched which gave a true measure was the Hibs game at Ibrox against a team which plays with a good speed and intensity and aggression.

“That was a good measure of them at that level and it will be equally tough for us but we can only control our own efforts and our own game.”

While the Northern Irishman is complimentary about the Ibrox side’s recruitment under Graeme Murty - the manager has led his side to two draws against Celtic already - he feels a crucial difference in the dynamic going into this match is the fact that it is essentially a title eliminator. A Rangers win – cutting Celtic’s lead to three points with a game in hand – and we may have a title race on our hands. A Celtic win and, whether anyone admits it, the league campaign will be pretty much done and dusted. Celtic want to win the match; Rangers need to win.

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“It’s important not to trap the players with the pressure,” said Rodgers. “Playing for Celtic, there’s pressure in every game; we know that and we know there are consequences in every game we play.

“But don’t worry so much about it and, in particular, not about this game. We want to win it but, for Rangers, there’s probably a need to win it and that’s a totally different psychology in the game.

“So I’ve always tried to ensure that, when it comes to the big games, we’re entirely focused on our own performance and that we ignore the emotional hype around these occasions. But you still have to play well to win them and we aim to do that.”