Rangers handed injury boost ahead of Celtic clash

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers waves to the crowd at the final whistle as Celtic win 3-0 during the Scottish Cup Quarter Final match between Celtic and Greenock Morton at Celtic Park

The men from the Stadium of Light have been suffering for some time with a lack of confidence and barring a late turn around, they could soon be into the third tier of the Football League system in this country.

But speaking ahead of this Sunday's Ladbrokes Premiership clash with Brendan Rodgers' treble-chasers, defender Bates said: "We'd won against Falkirk and were buzzing to be in the next round".

That includes three wins out of three at Ibrox and Celtic will travel to Govan this weekend six points clear of their rivals at the top of the table with a game in hand.

"But the first part of that journey is overcoming Celtic and that's why Sunday's game is such a big game for them".

Up at Ibrox you can sense that there is a growing confidence among the fans and players that the Gers are going to start challenging Celtic regularly once again.

"We are confident going in".

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Celtic have some superb attacking players, such as Scott Sinclair, James Forrest and Moussa Dembele, and it will be interesting to see how Bates copes.

The former Scotland global has made eight appearances in all competitions since making the move to the Ibrox Stadium, keeping three clean sheets and his experience and know-how will come in handy as they look to close the gap between themselves and the reigning Scottish champions.

"If we take all three points then it will be another sign that we're improving and getting closer to where we want to be".

His season on loan in the Finnish capital was equally impressive as he netted 30 goals in 43 games, with four of them coming in the Europa League qualifying round. They have written us off on every other occasion.

Russell Martin was due to face the media yesterday but the centre-back failed to report amid rumours he is struggling with a back injury.

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