Clement excited rather than nervous about keenly-awaited Old Firm derby

Rangers host Celtic on Sunday with a chance to reclaim top spot in the Premiership.

Philippe Clement excited rather than nervous about keenly-awaited Old Firm derby SNS Group

Philippe Clement is excited rather than nervous about Sunday’s keenly-awaited Old Firm game at Ibrox.

Rangers are one point behind reigning Premiership champions Celtic with a game in hand as title race tensions increase by the week.

It is the first of eight remaining league fixtures for the Govan side, who are desperate to wrest the title back from Parkhead and it is the first home Glasgow derby for the Belgian boss.

Asked if there were any nerves from within heading into the game, Clement said: “No, I love it. I’m not nervous, I’m excited about it, I’m looking forward to it.

“This is something you need to embrace, not be nervous about. These are great afternoons.

“I have a lot of confidence in my squad and I have a lot of confidence in our fans so those are the challenging moments because you play against a good team who will do their best to beat you and there will be a lot of quality from both sides.

“It’s the only way also to grow as a player, to have challenges, to have tough games, to play against good opponents.

“If you make the next steps into that you go to another level and that’s what I want to do with this club and with the squad next season – to become better and to raise the level time after time with a lot of success and maybe some disappointments along the way because that’s also the way to success. To learn lessons out of that.

“I prefer to have success on Sunday, let’s be clear about that.”

Clement admits Rangers will need to keep an eye on Celtic captain Callum McGregor, who is expected to return from injury to the Hoops midfield where he was instrumental in guiding his side to a 1-0 win at Ibrox in September – when Michael Beale was Gers boss – and a 2-1 victory at Parkhead in December.

He said: “I don’t totally agree that he dominated the play at Celtic Park. There were moments that he was good on the ball but there were also moments where he wasn’t dominating the game.

“I think my midfielders also dominated the game in moments. I saw the first game and it’s true he was dominating but I don’t need to say too much about that.

“He’s a very good player and he’s somebody with a lot of quality.

“He’s really good on the ball and he’s very important for their team so it’s important to take that strength out of their team and that’s one part you need to do but it’s not only about one player. They have a lot of good players.”

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