Champions cruising to Hogmany bash

Brendan Rodgers insists the pressure will be on Rangers when he takes his Celtic side to Ibrox on Hogmanay.

The Hoops extended their lead over the Light Blues at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership to 16 points and a game in hand with a 2-0 home win over Ross County, with goals from defender Erik Sviatchenko and midfielder Stuart Armstrong.

Celtic have won 14 league games in a row and are unbeaten in 23 domestic games this season, as well as unbeaten in 22 domestic home games in 2016.

Rodgers believes those statistics will allow the champions to be more relaxed than normal in an Old Firm game, albeit he stressed his desire to win.

The Northern Irishman said: “It will be a battle. There is no doubt about that. It will be a tough game.

“There is huge pressure on them to get the result at home. For us, we have played in big games under pressure this season and dealt well with it, stayed calm and got the result.

“We know it will be tough and it’s a game we are looking forward to.

“It finishes off a remarkable first half of the season for us. And we aim to go there and win.

“For us, it doesn’t matter what the result is on Saturday.

“We have had a fantastic start to the season and irrespective of the result, we will be happy with our work.

“We will go away, rest and recover and come back even better for the second half of the season.

“But we are greedy.

“We want to win every game and that’s the attitude at the weekend.”

Rodgers paid tribute to his predecessor Ronny Deila for his work at the end of last season, before the former Liverpool boss took over in the summer.

He said: “The stats are good. It’s a great credit to Ronny and the team before.

“They were here for the first six months of the year and can be proud of their work.

“But the players have taken the opportunity to be better and improve since I came in here.

“They amaze me in their mentality and are very much worthy of being 16 points clear at the top.

“It’s a remarkable feat of hard work, concentration, focus and quality.

“They are demonstrating that in every game and every week.”

County boss Jim McIntyre rued a couple of missed chances as well as keeper Scott Fox’s efforts in trying to stop Sviatchenko’s long-distance drive.

He said: “We were compact and disciplined and had two great chances on the counter – we have got to stick one away.

“Equally, it was disappointing to lose the goals the way we did.

“The first goal, Foxy has put his hand up – he has to save it.

“He has been fantastic for us, he has saved us on several occasions this season, so I am not going to be too critical.

“But he knows they are saves he should be making from that distance.

“The second goal goes in in the 46th minute and is the killer. It changes your team talk.

“But I’ve no complaints, Celtic were the better side and deserved to win.”

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