Celtic must prepare for an inevitable backlash from Rangers after Thursday’s emotionally-charged clash with Sparta Prague at Ibrox. 

That is according to former Aberdeen striker Noel Whelan who, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the Hoops needed to focus on their own game.

Speaking at his press conference on Friday, Steven Gerrard claimed he did not need to mentally build his players up for Sunday after the disappointment of the 2-0 loss.

However, the 2-0 defeat was overshadowed by allegations of racist comments made by Slavia Prague’s Ondrej Kudela towards Glen Kamara.

With emotions already running high at Ibrox, Whelan suggested Celtic needed to prepare to face a fired-up Rangers side.

Asked if Celtic should fear a backlash, Whelan told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: Yeah, absolutely. I think Celtic just need to concentrate on them right now. 

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“Don’t worry about what Rangers’ performance is gonna be like or if they’re going to be feeling down. These games take care of themselves. I think when it comes to Old Firms, form sometimes goes right out the window.

“If Celtic can get themselves in a good place and prepared – which they probably have because they haven’t had a midweek game – they’ll be a lot fresher. 

“It’s a great opportunity for Celtic to get something out of this game. Maybe just sour their moment a little bit more. 

“For Rangers, they can concentrate on just finishing the league off. They can concentrate on the Old Firm to put things right there as well.”

In other news, Alex McLeish has backed major plans involving Rangers and Celtic amid BBC update.