Former Celtic manager Gordon Strachan has questioned whether Rangers are fit enough to go toe to toe with the Hoops at Hampden.
The Glasgow rivals meet in the Scottish Cup semi-final on Sunday and Rangers need a win to save their season and prevent Celtic moving a major step closer to a fifth treble in eight seasons.
The Gers have not beaten Celtic in four meetings this season with Ange Postecoglou’s side coming out on top three times.
Speaking about Michael Beale’s team, Strachan said in an interview with www.casinosite.nl: “There’s plenty of talented players but do they have the fitness level and the attitude that the team comes first if they don’t play for 90 minutes?
“That’s the criteria to play for Celtic, so that might be a problem for some (Rangers) players.
“I watched the League Cup final myself and it was very close like most people thought.
“But what happened after about 38 minutes was Rangers’ fitness levels went, which allowed Celtic to dominate the last 10 minutes of the half. That shows how important fitness is.
“That’s the test for anyone that plays against Celtic. If you’re not super fit you’ll run out of energy and if you do close them down and win the ball back, do you have the energy to play again?
“That’s what the Celtic players can do. That’s what the top teams like Manchester City do.”
There have been plenty of goals in the past three derbies since Beale took charge but Celtic have the edge having scored 11 against their rivals this season.
Strachan feels Rangers might have to do something different to turn the tables, such as dropping striker Alfredo Morelos.
Strachan said: “What you’ve seen a couple of times is Rangers say, ‘all right, we’ll go up against them’, especially in the last couple of games.
“But they now might be thinking, ‘why don’t we just sit back a bit and conserve our energy, let them come at us and then try and hit them on the break?’
“To do that you need to have speed up front. So there might come a time where Rangers utilise the goalscoring ability of Alfredo Morelos and Antonio Colak. They might just say, ‘why don’t we just play everybody with frightening pace?’
“So this game might be a wee bit different. With big games like this Celtic won’t change their style but sometimes, if you’re not the best team on the pitch, you have to try something different to win a game of football.”