Rangers V Celtic at Ibrox Stadium : Match Preview

30 December 2016
Rangers V Celtic - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Andy Halliday confident Rangers can cause Celtic problems at Ibrox

Andy Halliday insists Rangers are determined to prevent Celtic storming Ibrox as they ready themselves to defend a 15-month unbeaten record at home.

Gers have not lost in Govan since a League Cup defeat to St Johnstone in September last year.

But that proud run will come under significant threat when the rampant Hoops visit their bitter rivals for the first time since 2012 on Hogmanay.

Brendan Rodgers' undefeated Ladbrokes Premiership frontrunners can extend their giant lead to a staggering 19 points with victory while still holding a game in hand on their distant challengers.

Few expect Mark Warburton's men to trouble their Old Firm foes having lost both of this season's two earlier derby clashes.

Halliday, though, has promised the Light Blues faithful Rangers will put up a better fight this time.

The 25-year-old boyhood Gers supporter said: "We have got home advantage, we have the backing of the 50,000 fans that have turned up everywhere we have gone this season and they have certainly been a big 12th man for us.

"We have had a pretty good home record since the gaffer came in 18 months ago and we have to look and take positives out of that.

"We have not lost a league game at home since the gaffer came here so we need to keep that going on Saturday and get the win.

"From a fans point of view it is certainly bragging rights and listen, it is a massive derby but ultimately it is three points at stake so that is what we are going to try and go for.

"We must impose our style of play. I don't think we have really done ourselves justice over the last two games against Celtic.

"Celtic dominated the game at Celtic Park and won 5-1 and the semi-final at Hampden we were sort of hanging on and never really imposed our attacking style of play in that game.

"It is important we get back to that and I think we have done that in our last few games, our form over the last five games has been really good so it is important to take the positives out of that into Saturday."

Of the current Parkhead squad, only skipper Scott Brown and left-back Emilio Izaguirre have previous experience of an Old Firm clash at Ibrox.

And Halliday hopes the Ibrox support will make life as uncomfortable as possible for those sampling the clash on Glasgow's southside for the first time by cranking up the noise.

"This game is one we all look forward to, it is a massive fixture," said the midfielder. "It is the biggest fixture in Scottish football and it is my fourth one to be a part of and every one you look forward to.

"Celtic obviously have quite a healthy lead at the top of the table so it is important we put on a good show and try and chip away at that lead.

"It is such a big fixture it is one that every football player wants to play in but I don't think experience takes on too much significance.

"From the Celtic boys' point of view it is probably the first time they have come to Ibrox and they are going to experience a very hostile atmosphere but a very good one."

Celtic defender Erik Sviatchenko is looking forward to the hostile atmosphere he is sure to experience in his first visit to Ibrox.

The Denmark international has played against the Light Blues at Hampden Park and Celtic Park but will make his debut at the Govan ground.

The 25-year-old has experienced derby rivalry before in his homeland and revealed that after he moved from being a youth player at his home-town team Viborg to play for rivals FC Midtjylland, there was an unusual reaction.

"Sometimes there were bananas thrown at my family and things like that. It can be a bit hostile sometimes," he said.

And Sviatchenko is confident he will thrive in the altogether different environs of an Old Firm game, at Ibrox, where three of the four stands will be home fans.

He said: "It is my first time at Ibrox and I heard the atmosphere there can be a bit tense so I am looking forward to it.

"I will be fine with that. In my Denmark time in derbies where you are getting shouted at and things like that, it only makes you stronger and want to give your very best.

"Sometimes it is just part of football to get a bit of abuse, so that's fine."

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