7 Celtic presser takeaways as Rodgers 'surprised' by Rangers boss Clement's gripe

Brendan Rodgers' record against Rangers isn't too bad, to say the least. The Celtic boss has lost just one Glasgow derby, winning 12 and drawing three. He's the most successful manager in the fixture but for him, that's irrelevant as he gears his team up for a potentially defining day in the title race.

A 13th victory against Gers tomorrow will all but secure three-in-a-row for Celts, moving them six points clear with just two games left to play. The stakes couldn't be higher, especially as the Light Blues arrive at the home of the champions knowing anything less than victory will all but end their Treble dreams.

Rodgers touched a nerve with dugout rival Philippe Clement last weekend when he vowed Celtic would "have some fun" on Saturday lunchtime. His words may or may not have been taken out of context by the Ibrox boss, who accused his opposite number of showing a lack of respect.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow's showdown at Parkhead, Rodgers admitted he was surprised by Clement's reaction to his comments. It was a lengthy press conference at Lennoxtown but Football Scotland has picked out the seven key headlines.

Record vs Rangers

"I've got to be honest, I go into every game and people will reference the record. But the mindset is to forget about what happened before. You can't rely on that, it's the preparation, the calmness of the team, the build-up to the games are relaxed but focused - and of course you have to perform. My players over both my periods here, have performed so well in these games. Like I said after the last game, I'm really looking forward to this game. There will be 60,000 supporters, the pitch will be magnificent, it's a chance for us to perform."

Rodgers dismisses Clement

"Am I surprised by the reaction across the city? Yeah, yeah. I think anyone who was at my press conference would have sensed the way in which it was said. The reaction to that is totally without merit. It has no context whatsoever. You mention my past record in these games, I have never referred to these other than being intense, being competitive. We never talk about the game as that but we talk about the whole occasion. The occasion is one of the most iconic games in world football. And I love it. It's one of the big reasons I am here, the great pride and privilege I have in managing Celtic in a Rangers game. So the whole emotion, the whole feeling around this game is absolutely amazing. I have seen some of the headlines around the 'disrespect' and whatever else but it is totally without merit. It was never in that context being said, and I never would be that person to disrespect another manager or another team. But I suppose it's part of the build-up for you guys."

Chance to get one hand on the trophy

"It's a great opportunity. That's what stands in front of us. We have that opportunity to do that, but nothing will be one. We need to go and perform well, work hard and be intense. We need to ensure our game is at a good level. We'll have an amazing support that will take us through the game with that wave of emotion. Hopefully we can entertain the supporters as well on the field. Primarily, the job is to get the three points. If we can do that, it puts us in a brilliant position with two games to go."

Maeda's success vs Tavernier

"I don't know. He plays well. James has been a very good player, he's been a really good captain for Rangers. Daizen, he's an amazing athlete physically, he scores goals, he's a threat, and he's intense which is difficult to match - he's a real specimen physically with how he presses and runs. In a pressing team like ourselves, that's absolutely vital."

Different scenario being in a title race from previous spell?

"I have to say it doesn't feel any different. I think the other times we've had leads or not, or like this one here where it's tight, the focus is really on the next game and performing to the highest possible level that we can. In the Invincibles season, we could have easily checked out of that long before we did, but the mentality is to go into every game to win and to win as well as we possibly can, and that took us right until the end of the season. So for me, it never changes whether you are three points or 30 points clear. Our measure is us, being the best we can be, finish the season as strong as we can so we can take a really strong positive start into next season."

Forrest vs Daizen dilemma

"What's important is having the flexibility. Daizen can play on both sides, James can play on both sides. Depending on the opponent, depending on the game, whether we can inverted wingers or wingers on the outside. It just depends on the game. It's great for me from a coaching perspective to have that flexibility. I think the key is having players that are adaptable that can play in whatever position you want them to play in."

Kyogo coming alive

"He looks brighter. It goes back to players being able to find him with his movement and his runs. He's always been really good in these games. I think you see his confidence at the weekend and you know with him he's the type of striker when his movement's bright and dynamic and you can find him early, then he's a real threat. I can see the difference with him and that probably aligns with some of the players coming back that are able to find him and play with him."