6 Brendan Rodgers Celtic TV interview headlines as he reiterates Rangers verdict

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers -Credit:Celtic TV

Brendan Rodgers insists Celtic are counting down the days until Saturday's title showdown with Rangers.

The Hoops boss irritated Ibrox counterpart Philippe Clement at the weekend by claiming that the champions would "have some fun" against their fiercest rivals. Clement accused Rodgers of showing a lack of respect towards his Treble-chasing team but the Northern Irishman took no notice of the Belgian's comments in an interview with the club's TV channel today.

Instead, Rodgers heaped praise on his side's complete performance against Hearts as Celts put on a show to run out 3-0 winners - and moved a step closer towards three-in-a-row. The famous old ground in Glasgow's east end was bouncing as every pass, tackle and save was celebrated like a goal. Rodgers knows the decibel levels will soar even higher when Gers come calling on Saturday lunchtime and the Parkhead boss has reiterated his belief that the final league derby of the season will be "crucial" in deciding this year's Premiership winners.

Here, Football Scotland has transcribed his interview with Celtic TV in FULL and picked out the six key headlines.

Squad in good shape

"It was a very good performance and we came through it really well. We'll have a good preparation this week and we'll really look forward to this game at the weekend. It's important each day just to look after the details in the game and focus on our own performance. It's obviously the last home game for us and I've said it before after the last time we played at Ibrox that this game is going to be crucial for us playing in front of our own supporters so I still feel the exact same way. But the preparation is very much based around ourselves, always respecting the opponent and what they may bring to the game but then looking at how we play and ultimately our process in the game."

Is the team battle ready?

"Yeah, I don't think there's any doubt. We'll arrive into the weekend's game and this will probably be the best version of the team that I've had since I've been here. When I look at the number of injuries that we've had right the way through, it felt like the last weekend was about there virtually in terms of player availability and fitness. I think after another good week of work and concentration on the training field, then we'll arrive into Saturday in as good a place as we've been all season."

Kyogo's derby record

"He clearly has a lot of joy against Rangers and his two goals at the weekend, it was real quick anticipation of where the ball is going to go. He's so alive within the box. And then the second one is a great pass by Matt and then it's what he does best, playing on the shoulder of the defender and he's timed his finish really well. It will always be about the team. There won't be one player that will have any greater importance or burden to bear than the whole team. We'll be very connected in the team and that's how we always play."

That Callum McGregor double tackle

"Callum's importance cannot be underestimated with this team, the experience he brings, quality and view of the game and how inspirational a leader he is. It was just a case of building him up and that moment, that run to challenge and win the ball not once but twice... you see what the gives the supporters. That intensity and impression sometimes gets a bigger cheer than a pass or a goal even. But he in that moment, it was fantastic for him and the team, but also for me looking at him knowing that's him back to the level that he's shown."

Pleasing to see the intensity at the weekend?

"It is, but it's not a choice. It's an obligation and what you have to do. We are a running team and when we run and penetrate, press and counter-press, that's our game. And when we take our game to that level then we play the game to a good level. That was the pleasing aspect, that defensive pressure. We were playing a good Hearts team who have done very well this season. They like to build the game to build through the pitch and they've got some dangerous players. But I felt after that first 20 minutes or so, we got our pressing right. Everyone collectively was synchronised and moving together with and without the ball. That culminates in a good performance."

Importance of atmosphere on Saturday

"I think that goes without saying. The crowd in the Hearts game were brilliant for us. I mentioned before about their importance at this stage in the season and they're really getting behind the football aspect of the club and the team. We see that, and you see that emotion just rolled down from the stands right onto the pitch. You see what it gives the players and how they respond to that. We'll need that exactly the same at the weekend and I know we'll get that because I think the supporters are happy now with what they're seeing in the team and now we have to play our part in that. But it should be a great occasion and I'm really looking forward to it."