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Brendan Rodgers believes his in-form Celtic side are in prime condition as they bid to place one hand on the cinch Premiership trophy by defeating title rivals Rangers on Saturday.

The Hoops go into the final Old Firm derby of the season at Parkhead knowing victory will take them six points clear of the Ibrox men with just two games remaining.

Rodgers feels his team, with all their key players fully fit and firing in their impressive 3-0 win over third-placed Hearts last weekend, have come to the boil at the perfect time as they bid to close out the campaign with a league and Scottish Gas Scottish Cup double.

“I don’t think there is any doubt, we’ll arrive into this weekend’s game and this will probably be the best version of the team that I’ve had since I’ve been here (this season),” the manager told Celtic TV.

“When you look at the number of injuries we’ve had, right the way though, the disruptions, it felt like at the weekend was about there, virtually, in terms of player availability and where the team is at, and in terms of fitness as well.

“I think after another good week of work and concentration on the training field, we’ll arrive into Saturday in as good a place as we have been all season.”

A Rangers win would haul them level on points with Celtic, who are currently five goals better off, so Rodgers knows the importance of home advantage this weekend.

“I said it before, after the last time we played at Ibrox, this game was going to be crucial for us playing in front of our own supporters, so I still feel exactly the same,” he said.

Celtic are buoyed by a 3-0 win over Hearts (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“The preparation is very much based around ourselves, always respecting the opponent and what they might bring to the game, but then looking at how we play and, ultimately, our process in the game.

“The crowd in the Hearts game was brilliant for us. Their importance at this stage of the season and really getting behind the football aspect of the club and the team. We saw that emotion just roll down out of the stands and go onto the pitch.

“You see what it gives the players and how they respond to that. We need that exactly the same at the weekend and I know we will get that because I think the supporters are happy with what they are seeing now in the team. It should be a great occasion and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Rodgers feels the double challenge made by Callum McGregor on Hearts pair Kenneth Vargas and Cammy Devlin in the second half of Saturday’s victory shows the captain is now back to his intense best after he returned to action last month following a lay-off with an Achilles issue.

Callum McGregor
Callum McGregor is back in form after his injury lay-off (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“Callum’s importance to this team cannot be underestimated: the experience he brings, the quality, the view of the game and how inspirational a leader he is,” said Rodgers.

“It was just about building him up and I felt then, at that moment when he made that run to challenge, not once but twice to win the ball, you actually see what that gives the supporters.

“That moment, it really was fantastic, for him and the team but also for me looking at him, thinking that’s him really back to the level he’s shown.”