Celtic are 'better than last season' insists Boruc ahead of crucial derby

The Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc has cranked up the pressure ahead of Saturday's Old Firm match at Ibrox by claiming his side have improved since they won last season's Scottish Premier League title.

Rangers are three points ahead at the top of the table with a game in hand and most pundits predict that a win on Saturday would effectively bring the title back to Ibrox for the first time in three seasons.

The Celtic manager, Gordon Strachan, and his players have come in for criticism recently after letting Rangers move clear at the top. However, Boruc, who was reported yesterday as saying he could leave Parkhead in the summer, praised his team-mates' efforts this season and expressed high hopes for the future of the club.

"We have taken a lot of criticism recently, but I think that this team is an even better team than the one which won the title last season," Boruc said. "I honestly believe that. I think that our overall play this season has been really good, there have been some very good matches, but the main thing about football is winning the games."

Boruc, who arrived from Legia Warsaw in 2005, admits he is still surprised by the fervour surrounding the Old Firm fixture. "I am the same no matter who I am playing," the goalkeeper said. "I don't do anything differently, or change any of my habits.

"But what surprised me is the build-up in the media, the number of people who are talking about the game. It was pretty shocking when I first came over here and I didn't expect there to be much interest.

"There was quite a lot of interest in some of the games that I played for Legia in Poland but nothing like you see before a derby here."

Meanwhile, the former Celtic striker John Hartson revealed that he immediately rebuffed Sir David Murray when the Rangers owner tried to entice him to Ibrox 15 months ago.

The Welshman failed a medical at Rangers when Dick Advocaat was manager and he subsequently signed for Celtic where he became a fans' favourite under Martin O'Neill.

But during Paul Le Guen's ill-fated tenure at Ibrox, Murray tried to persuade Hartson to leave West Bromwich Albion and return to Glasgow.

However, the former Wales international claims Murray's phone call was a waste of time. "There was no way that I could ever pull on a Rangers shirt after all that I achieved in five years at Celtic," Hartson said. "Mr Murray tried to convince me it would work but it was a no-brainer as far as I was concerned.

"There are two clubs in the world that I could never contemplate playing for now – Cardiff City and Rangers. Mr Murray could have offered to pay me £1m per week and I would still have said no. I didn't hear from him again and that suited me fine."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
The Queen and the letter sent to Charlie
football
Arts and Entertainment
Eurovision Song Contest 2015
EurovisionGoogle marks the 2015 show
News
Two lesbians hold hands at a gay pride parade.
peopleIrish journalist shares moving story on day of referendum
Arts and Entertainment
<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
News
Liz Kendall played a key role in the introduction of the smoking ban
newsLiz Kendall: profile
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?