SIGN UP for our newsletter ✉️ :

Get the latest stories delivered straight to you

'Celtic must consolidate derby win by dispatching Dundee'

Tino, The Celtic Exchange Podcast

While the recent win at Ibrox was undoubtedly huge from a psychological point of view, the fact remains that you only get the same three points for beating Rangers as you do for victory over any of the other 10 teams in the league.

It's something Brendan Rodgers knows only too well and part of his job is keeping the players grounded and focused as they head into the next phase of the season.

Speaking before this weekend's return to Scottish Premiership action he said, “It’s only a big win against Rangers if we beat Dundee, so our focus now is on getting ready for that.”

He’ll be boosted in that aim by the likely return of Reo Hatate as well as a host of our summer signings.

On his day the Japanese midfielder is one of the best players in the country and Rodgers will welcome his comeback from injury with the trip to Rotterdam to face Feyenoord in the Champions League opener looming on Tuesday.

Nat Phillips is also in contention for the weekend following his arrival late in the window and his inclusion could throw up an interesting centre-half dilemma for the manager.

Will the Liverpool loanee be paired with fellow new Bhoy Gustaf Lagerbielke or does Ibrox man of the match Liam Scales get the nod?

It has to be Scales for me – and I’m as surprised as any to be typing that – but he’s absolutely earned the right to more game-time following his display in the derby.

Lagerbielke will be a better player for the experience but a few shaky moments showed there’s still work to be done as he gets up to speed with life at Celtic.

Elsewhere it seems Liel Abada has picked up a thigh knock on international duty which may keep him out for up to a month.

Frustrating as that is will it open the door for Luis Palma to make his first appearance in the Hoops? The winger picked up a goal and an assist for Honduras in the early hours of Wednesday and will be raring to go following his transfer from Aris.

Will he be the man to fill Jota’s boots? We’ll soon find out.

And we may get a glimpse of the lesser-discussed Paulo Bernardo. The most likely option is a place on the bench for the Portuguese youngster who has his work cut out to become a regular starter in a crowded midfield department.

But with the five subs rule now a permanent fixture it’s very much a squad game and the manager continues to reiterate that those who finish the match can be just as important as those who start it.