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31st Dec, 2016 | 12:11pm

Rodgers: Why I could not afford to pick this Celtic player for Rangers clash

By Amir Mir

Brendan Rodgers has revealed that he couldn’t afford to pick Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths for the Old Firm clash because he has issues with his calf.

The Hoops take on Rangers at Ibrox on Saturday afternoon, looking to claim a third win of the season against their bitter rivals.

Former Liverpool boss Rodgers opted to play striker Moussa Dembele against the Gers, leaving Griffiths on the bench.

Prior to the game, Rodgers explained why he dropped the Scotland international and whether or not he will play a part in the game.

“We don’t like to change what we have been doing,” Rodgers told Sky Sports. “Moussa has been out of the team for a few games, he’s come in, Leigh’s also has issued with his calf. I cannot afford to start anyone who I don’t think will last the game. If we need to bring him on, we will do.”

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Dembele has scored four goals against Mark Warburton’s side this season, including a hat-trick during the 5-1 win on home soil in September.

Overall, the summer signing has netted 18 goals in 35 games in all competitions, including eight in the Scottish Premiership.

By contrast, Griffiths has scored 13 goals this term, including four goals in his last six league games.

Rodgers side are unbeaten in all domestic games this season and could claim their 15th win on the bounce if they beat their bitter rivals.

Former Brentford boss, Warburton, has decided to play Joe Garner as his striker, with the powerful Martyn Waghorn dropping to the bench.

The Gers drew their last fixture when they were held to a 1-1 draw at St Johnstone on Wednesday.

In other Celtic team news, former striker Chris Sutton has mocked Rangers ahead of the Old Firm clash.