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Smith admits form meaningless in Old Firm clashes

Rangers manager Walter Smith has played down the blistering form of his side ahead of tomorrow's Old Firm derby, insisting the three points are far from guaranteed.

The Scottish champions make the short trip to the east end of Glasgow bursting with confidence after coming through December with a 100pc record and netting an incredible 26 goals along the way.

A midweek 7-1 thrashing of Dundee United, with Kris Boyd netting five times, set Rangers up perfectly for the meeting with their bitter rivals.

Celtic's own form has been somewhat more erratic, but Smith is taking nothing for granted against Tony Mowbray's men.

He said: "The one thing that is always said about the Old Firm games is that they are a bit unpredictable, regardless of what aspects of your team are doing well.

"The Old Firm games seem to turn all that on its head. We have been scoring regularly in recent weeks, but that will be given its full test against Celtic.

"I don't think there could be a tougher place for us to go and try to get a win than Celtic Park.

"Form books and all the other aspects go out the window in Old Firm games.

"I don't think you can look at one aspect of your game and be that confident that when you're going into an Old Firm match that's the way it will pan out.

"It doesn't normally happen like that. Strange things occur in these games and there is a lot of tension involved and a lot of nerves that players have to overcome in these matches."



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While the New Year derby is one which will be highly anticipated by both sets of fans, Smith admits the fixture is still not one he particularly enjoys.

"You can never say you find the Old Firm games that enjoyable prior to them," he said.

"Obviously, if you don't win the game it's not enjoyable.

"If you do, there is a bit of enjoyment there," added Smith.

"They are games that have attention and quite rightly so. If you look over the past few years, the importance of winning against each other always has an influence on the championship and where the championship will rest.

"Despite difficult games that we have throughout our season against the other teams, Rangers-Celtic games are always ones that can determine where the championship might rest.

"We managed to win the first game at home, and Celtic will be extremely determined to ensure we don't repeat that at Celtic Park."


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