This is why Celtic are favourites – McDonald

Scott McDonald believes Celtic have the advantage heading into the Old Firm derby as they have more players who have experienced the occasion.

McDonald, a former Hoops striker, was speaking after the two city rivals were paired together in the Scottish Cup semi-final.

The likes of Scott Brown, Kris Commons, Charlie Mulgrew and Craig Gordon are just a few of the Celtic players who have handled the intense atmosphere whereas Mark Warburton’s Rangers side have a number of players who will be making their first derby appearance.

And McDonald believes that lack of experience could be key in the encounter.

“I think it is an advantage for Celtic that they’ve got a lot more experience in that dressing room,” he said.

“It’s important you don’t become a rabbit in the headlight. I can remember my first game and getting involved with Allan McGregor at a corner it was only two minutes in the game and I got booked I thought ‘oh here we go’, I shouldn’t have done that.

“It’s important to keep calm out there and I’m sure that’ll be the message from Kenny and the more experienced players out there.”

It’s the first Old Firm game since last February’s meeting between the two when Celtic ran out comfortable 2-0 winners. Since then there’s been a complete overhaul at Ibrox and McDonald expects it to be much a tighter affair this time around.

“I think it’s certainly narrowed from 13 months ago. Rangers have recruited well and are a lot stronger and have a philosophy now in the way they want to play.

“I think they are going to grow and keep growing under Mark Warburton. For Celtic, people have written them off a little bit, but it’s a chance for them to show that they are the powerhouse in Scottish football.”

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