GRAEME MURTY has urged his players to show the right level of intensity and aggression when they take on Celtic in the last Old Firm showdown of the 2017/18 season on Sunday.
The manager admits the pain of Rangers’ Scottish Cup semi-final defeat at Hampden still lingers and that one of the most frustrating aspects of that 90 minutes was that his players’ failed to ‘lay a glove’ on their Glasgow rivals.
Murty knows this has can’t be the case at Parkhead this weekend and speaking at today’s pre-match press conference at the club’s training centre in Auchenhowie, he said: “It’s an Old Firm game and it’s an opportunity to stop them winning the title at their place.
“We’ve got to go onto the pitch with an aggressive mindset and make sure we make it as uncomfortable for them as we possibly can.
“When we step over that line we need to make sure we are ready to bring the intensity that we didn’t show in the last game.
“We’ve done it before, we’ve had games where we could and should have won in my opinion; now is the time to go and translate that into three points.
I’ve got an aggressive mindset but the people who walk out onto the football pitch need to make sure they have an aggressive mindset and they don’t take a backward step.
“No backward steps, straight up and get into a fierce engagement and come out on top. That’s the mindset we have to have.
“They know; it’s a hurt group. They are hurt from things that were said, things that have been in the media about them as people and as players. They are desperate to put things right.
“We need to make sure we have that controlled focus, controlled aggression and it is a positive.
“If we have that, and I’ve said it all the way through, we score lots of goals as a team; we’ve scored more goals than anyone else which has kind of been brushed under the carpet.
If we go and sustain the level of intensity and aggression and quality, we have the players, I believe and I always believe, to cause anyone problems.
“Certainly, I believe we are better on the front foot as a team, being aggressive and high pressing our opponents.
“We need to make sure we get that right and we put a complete performance in.
“Craig Gordon has made some brilliant saves against us at Celtic Park and I enjoy the atmosphere, I enjoy the way that we have played there previously when I’ve been there.
“The semi-final is the only time we haven’t actually laid a glove on them and that still burns me.
“We have got an opportunity now, thankfully, to go and put that right and that’s the mindset the players need to have.”