Celtic signing Freddie Ljungberg could face Rangers

Paddy McCourt hopes Celtic can fill the void created by captain Scott Brown's absence in Sunday's Old Firm derby at Ibrox - and the man to fill the gap could be Freddie Ljungberg.

Midfielder Brown, who had only recently returned from a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a foot injury, was sent off in the closing stages of Wednesday night's 1-0 win over Motherwell after picking up two yellow cards.

Winger McCourt believes Brown's absence will be "massive" but claims it gives an opportunity for someone else to make their mark.

That could present an opportunity for Ljungberg, who signed for Celtic last night and will be unveiled today.

The former Arsenal midfielder requires international clearance in order to play against Rangers.

"It was disappointing," said McCourt.

"Sometimes you get these against you and you have to get on with it. But he will be a massive loss for Sunday.

"He just came back against Kilmarnock and started in the last two games.

"He has looked good and fit and he will be a big loss but it opens the door for someone else to step in and hopefully fill his boots."

The Old Firm derby will be a poignant occasion, taking place on the 40th anniversary of the Ibrox disaster, when 66 people lost their lives.

Billy McNeill and John Greig, the club captains from 1971, will lead the teams out at Ibrox, with Rangers seeking to overtake Celtic at the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League table.

A minute's silence will take place before the game, with Celtic boss Neil Lennon among those who will be in a reflective mood.

Lennon told Celtic's official website, www.celticfc.net: "Clearly the tragic events of 1971 at Ibrox will forever be remembered across Scottish football and indeed Scottish society.

"For so many people to lose their lives at a football match is simply beyond comprehension.

"This was a terrible human tragedy. It went beyond football and indeed completely puts the game of football into perspective.

"Although the Ibrox tragedy occurred 40 years ago, it was on such a scale that for many it will always be fresh in the memory.

"It is right therefore that this weekend, we remember and pay tribute to all those affected - the victims of this terrible tragedy and their families."

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