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Neil Lennon preparing Celtic for unique Old Firm derby

St Johnstone v Celtic – Scottish Premiership – McDiarmid Park
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Celtic boss Neil Lennon admits the absence of fans against Rangers on Saturday will make it an Old Firm derby like no other.

The first meeting of the Glasgow giants this year will be behind closed doors at Parkhead due to coronavirus restrictions.

The former Celtic captain believes so many factors that make the age-old fixture special will be absent.

Celtic v KR Reykjavik – UEFA Champions League – Qualifying – First Round – Celtic Park

The Old Firm derby will be played behind closed doors (Andrew Milligan/PA)

He said: “It is a huge ingredient that is going to be missing. The electricity, the atmosphere, the rawness, the noise – the colour.

“All that is going to be missing. You have to adapt to it as best you can.

“I think it is very difficult for this generation of players to go through what they are going through without supporters.

“We have adapted as well as anybody. Our focus has got to be on playing the game, obviously trying to win the game.

“That doesn’t change. What they will miss is the noise and that edge these games bring. So we have to try to devise our own edge.”

Rangers lead the champions by a point having played a game more.

Steven Gerrard File Photo

Steven Gerrard’s Rangers are top of the table (Andrew Milligan/PA)

However, Lennon, whose side have won their last eight matches, insists it is too early for any conclusions to be drawn from the result.

He said: “It is way too early. We had this conversation after we won at Ibrox last year and after we lost at Celtic Park in December.

“It didn’t pan out the way that people assumed it was going to or predicted.

“We are on a good run, we want to maintain that consistency. I want to get all my players back fit because we have a real heavy block of games coming up, great games, very exciting players for them to really thrive on and it is really unfortunate that there is going to be no supporters there to see it.

“But for the players, individual performances, the club and team development they are brilliant games to look forward to.”