THE mood music around Celtic has lifted somewhat over the past week or so, and with the crucial match against Rangers tomorrow lunchtime looming, that couldn’t have come at a better time.

The champions have won their last two, have kept two clean sheets, and have kept Rangers five points behind them as a result – albeit with two games in hand – going into what could be a pivotal match in the context of the title race.

Kyogo Furuhashi is back among the goals, the Green Brigade are back in the stadium, and a win would surely put Brendan Rodgers back in the favours of even his biggest doubters.

Here are five things that his Celtic team must do if they are to chalk up their second win of the season against their city rivals.

Play Daizen Maeda on the left, and Luis Palma on the right

While Celtic manager Rodgers has hinted that he could welcome back Liel Abada for this game, it would be a huge call to throw him straight into the starting line-up after such a long absence.

It is far likelier that Rodgers will go with Maeda and Palma in wide areas from the start once more, despite the two goals Mikey Johnston scored at Dens Park on Boxing Day. The only real question mark is over which side he chooses to deploy them on.

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Maeda hasn’t been at his sharpest in the two games he has started since his own return from injury, but his energy could be crucial up against the threat of James Tavernier on the Rangers right. His ability to press the Rangers captain and his willingness to run in behind him could prove critical in limiting or even nullifying his threat.

Rodgers’ use of such a set-up has been fleeting to say the least, but Maeda and Palma combined for the latter’s stunning goal against Atletico Madrid playing in these positions, showing that they are more than capable of causing problems for any opposition if deployed in such a way.

Get to the byline to provide for Kyogo

In-keeping with the theme of point one, the shifting of Palma onto the right should naturally encourage him to hit the chalk and get the sort of crosses into the Rangers area that Kyogo thrives upon.

Yes, he managed to tee up the striker’s goal against Livingston by cutting inside and curling the ball towards the far post, but Kyogo thrives upon cutbacks and the sort of service that has been in short supply so far this season.

Despite his patchy form overall this season, Kyogo kept up his hugely impressive recent record against Rangers with his stunning strike at Ibrox in early September making it five goals in his last give games against them, and Celtic therefore must do everything in their power to play to his strengths tomorrow.

Dominate the midfield once again

Unless Phillipe Clement has been living under a rock, as his predecessor Michael Beale must have been, then he might have noticed that Callum McGregor is a pretty decent footballer.

The Celtic captain was given the freedom of Ibrox in the first meeting between these sides, and it is likely that Clement will be handing Dujon Sterling a brief of getting close to McGregor this time around as he tries to lessen his influence on proceedings.

Despite still being without Reo Hatate, who Rodgers has stated will be unlikely to start despite a return to full training, Celtic should fancy themselves to dominate the centre of the park regardless.

It will likely be McGregor, the imperious Matt O’Riley and Paolo Bernardo up against Sterling, Kieran Dowell and Todd Cantwell in that area, and if they can dominate once more, it will give them the platform to win the game.

Nullify Abdallah Sima

The Rangers wide man has been in deadly form so far this season, providing a real threat from the left-hand side of the Ibrox attack with his pace, strength and direct running.

He will come up against Alistair Johnston, who, on the other hand, has had a perceived drop-off in his performance level so far this campaign when compared to last.

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Celtic will need a huge performance from the Canadian international to nullify Sima’s threat, but he has shown himself more than capable of reaching such levels and handling the pressure of these fixtures in the past. He must do so again.

Pray that Cameron Carter-Vickers is fit 

It is no slight on Celtic's extensive reserves in the centre-back position to say that Carter-Vickers’ potential absence would reduce his side’s chances of a successful outcome in this game.

Rodgers rather downplayed the issue that forced Carter-Vickers off at Dens Park on Boxing Day as ‘tightness’. But while Stephen Welsh would likely be the one to step into the breach and has rarely let Celtic down, there is no doubt that Rangers forward Cyriel Dessers will fancy his chances considerably more to trouble a Celtic backline minus the hulking American international.