Celtic winger Mohamed Elyounoussi sounds confident and highly-motivated ahead of this Sunday’s Glasgow Derby at Ibrox.

Elyounoussi looks a cert to start Sunday’s Scottish Cup fourth-round match in Govan. The Norwegian netted in last month’s 1-1 stalemate at Celtic Park in what was our second consecutive bossing of the derby. He also came on at Ibrox in January when we somehow lost 1-0 despite controlling the game.

In both matches, Celtic have lacked a finishing touch. Too many chances came our way, particularly last month, where we failed to show a ruthless side to our game. Instead, the Hoops attack has been profligate, and that’s been shown in the fact we’ve only managed one goal in three derbies.

Thankfully, the last two matches have seen our killer touch return. After a tricky first half vs Falkirk two weeks ago, Celtic rattled home three second-half efforts before hammering home six against Livingston last Saturday. Next up is Rangers, and one of Celtic’s biggest threats in Elyounoussi sounds ready to tear them down. He’s been previewing the match on Celtic TV, and said the following:

“I think we were the better team”

“We knew the kind of result in the last game would come sooner rather than later – we could see it in training and in the games building up. We were creating a lot of chances. But we were missing a little bit of clinical finishing in the end. We got that in the last game so we need to maintain that, keep working hard, and hopefully we can keep that going for the next game.

“I’m looking forward to it (Ibrox), it’s going to be a good game, a tough game. I think we’ve been the better team in recent games against them. In the last derby we lacked the finishing, but I think we’re going to work hard this week, prepare well, and hopefully it’s going to be a good game and we can beat them.

“I’m sure we’re going to do that (practice penalties) but hopefully we can do it in 90 minutes. It’s a tough game away, they’re having a good season as well, but we’ve been really good against them in recent games and we’re trying to do the same now.”

Celtic have nothing to fear at Ibrox; Moi Elyounoussi clearly confident ahead of Glasgow Derby

You have to look at the positives heading into this one. There’s no point talking about the fact we’re 20 points behind in the Premiership. No point in talking about the fact we’re only working with an interim coach in charge. And definitely no point in discussing the point that we haven’t won a derby game since December 2019.

It’s important we instead look at this game in isolation. At the end of the day, we’ve bossed the last two derbies. We’ve easily controlled the midfield regardless of what shape we’ve used – granted the diamond worked a particular treat at Ibrox.

As well as netting at Parkhead last month, Moi had a great chance to equalise in the January game at Ibrox. He had a dipping half-volley that was only yards over the bar when we were down to 10 men. He’ll be all too aware of how easily he can find space against our rivals, and it’s no wonder he sounds like he has no fear ahead of this one.

Celtic kit
Moi Elyounoussi is confident ahead of Sunday / (Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Celtic are in the driving seat here in terms of who’s dominated the last two fixtures. Had we not been so controlling in both of the derbies in 2021, you could look at this clash with a lot more fear in you. But there really is no need for it this time around. We should have confidence in this team’s ability to create chances in Govan.

Rangers have been impressive this season, no doubt about it. They’ve blown away the lesser teams in the country and have barely managed a single slip-up. But they’ve yet to boss us this season when we’ve had our full team available. That’s not optimism or blind faith talking – that’s sheer fact.

So Moi has the right idea. There’s no reason to be negative going into this one. It’s a glorious chance for us to salvage something from this miserable season, and history suggests we’re in a good place to do just that.

In other news, Stephen Glass has talked about the “invaluable” role Scott Brown will play at Pittodrie.

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