Celtic bid to land knockout blow to Rangers Cup hopes

The Old Firm clash for the third time in four weeks as Celtic prepare to host Rangers at Parkhead in their Scottish Cup fifth round replay on Wednesday.

Updated: March 01, 2011 12:51 IST
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Glasgow: The Old Firm clash for the third time in four weeks as Celtic prepare to host Rangers at Parkhead in their Scottish Cup fifth round replay on Wednesday.

The Glasgow giants drew 2-2 first time round at Ibrox in February but the Hoops thrashed Rangers 3-0 when they visited Celtic Park in the league match just two weeks later.

That win opened up an eight-point lead for Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premier League but their 17-match unbeaten run came to an end on Sunday when they went down to a shock 2-0 defeat to Motherwell.

With Rangers beating St Johnstone 4-0 at Ibrox, Celtic's lead over the champions at the top of the league has been reduced to five points with Rangers having played two games less.

As one side of the Old Firm's dreams of a domestic treble prepare to come to an end Celtic midfielder Kris Commons believes a match against Rangers is the best way to get his side's season back on track.

"We have to get this out of our system quickly and it's an ideal game for us to go into," said the Scotland international, who has scored twice in two games against Rangers.

"In football when you have a defeat that's hard to take the best thing to do is play as soon as possible and we have the chance to play against our rivals on Wednesday night.

"So we will be fired up for that. The Motherwell defeat was a blow. Obviously the unbeaten run goes out the window so it's important that we get back to winning ways."

Rangers have progressed to the last 16 of the Europa League and comprehensibly defeated St Johnstone since they were put to the sword by Celtic at Parkhead - their biggest league victory over their Old Firm rivals in six years.

Rangers midfielder Maurice Edu says he and his teammates want to make up for their poor performance last time by progressing to the quarter-finals.

"We lost the last game so we want to turn it around. We want to show up better and hopefully we can impose ourselves this time," the American international said.

"It wasn't a good showing and we were all disappointed. I know the fans suffered but nobody was more annoyed than us.

"Now we have a chance to show what we are capable of and what we are made of. I think it is a good thing the game has come around so quickly and this time we want to give our fans something to shout about.

"We want to put things right. The team will make sure we don't make the same mistakes and ensure everyone is on the same page.

"It was important to have the meeting and for everybody to get their spirits back up."

Rangers captain David Weir missed the match with St Johnstone after suffering a bout of sickness but will return to take his place in the centre of defence on Wednesday.

Nikica Jelavic, who completed only his second full game for Rangers on Sunday since his return from injury, should start and will be hoping to add to his 10 goals in 11 starts so far.

Celtic will be without injured trio Shaun Maloney, Glenn Loovens and Thomas Rogne.

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