Record rouses Old Firm

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The Independent Online
SCOTTISH FOOTBALL

Rangers entertain their arch rivals, Celtic, at Ibrox today in potentially one of the most explosive Old Firm derbies in years - and the first of four Premier Division confrontations which will surely settle this nine- in-a-row campaign.

Champions for the past eight seasons, Rangers have made a 100 per cent start to their pursuit of Celtic's cherished record set under the late Jock Stein.

While sanity, and a social responsibility, marked the pre-match audiences of Tommy Burns, the Celtic manager, and his Rangers counterpart, Walter Smith, today they will again become passionately involved.

"If Walter or I chose to speak about this game in a particular way, we could whip up a minor world war in Glasgow," Burns said. "Instead, we prefer to see it as a football match we both want to win.''

Celtic are out to end a run of six matches without a win over their neighbours last season. This time, both have started well, with a draw at Aberdeen for Celtic the only points dropped so far by either club.

Jorge Cadete, Celtic's top scorer this season, misses his derby debut, while there are doubts over Pierre van Hooijdonk and Andreas Thom.

Rangers are without the Scotland pair Ally McCoist and Stuart McCall, who could now be doubtful for the World Cup trip to Latvia and Estonia. However, Smith is hopeful Gordon Durie might pass a late fitness test on a knee injury which has troubled him for the last two or three weeks.

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