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07 December 2023

Rangers ready to fight back: Goian


Rangers defender Dorin Goian has backed his teammates to bounce back from their Old Firm derby disappointment as they start 2012 with a visit from Motherwell at Ibrox.

The 1-0 defeat to Celtic on Wednesday saw Rangers deposed as league leaders after at one stage holding a 15 point lead over their Glasgow rivals.

It was their second defeat in a row following a shock loss to St Mirren the week before and leaves Ally McCoist's side trailing Celtic by two points.

However Goian, who was suspended for the Celtic match, is adamant that Rangers can turnaround their form and recapture top spot.

"People should remember that the championship is long and there are still many games to play," the Romanian international said.

"I still think it is in our hands to win the championship.

"We have to rediscover our confidence and I think we can do that against Motherwell and win the game. If we do that it will give us a chance to put things back to normal.

"When you have tough moments you have to train harder, you have to find something extra to recover and I feel we can do that.

"I feel the team we have is capable of winning the title. We have made a couple of mistakes and we have paid for them but I am very confident we can still win the league."

Rangers midfielder Lee McCulloch is a doubt for the match after picking up an injury against Celtic and defender Steven Whittaker should miss out with a groin injury.

Meanwhile Celtic head to East End Park looking for their tenth successive league win against bottom club Dunfermline.

Dunfermline have taken just one point from their past six matches and could have up to seven players missing through injury but Celtic assistant Johan Mjallby says it will be a difficult match.

"We need to be careful. It's a tricky game," Mjallby said.

"Dunfermline, there's no pressure on them. They're going to go out there and feel a lot of freedom.

"It's important for us to be focussed. The confidence is there, we're playing really, really well at the moment.

"The players have to understand that the hard work we've been doing the last two months is paying off right now."

Celtic midfielder Beram Kayal is missing with an ankle injury, while Kris Commons and Glenn Loovens are expected to return next week.

New signing Mikael Lustig will not be involved as he has been given time to rest after a full season in Norway.

Elsewhere, Hibernian host Hearts at Easter Road in the second Edinburgh derby of the season.

Hibs have taken just one point since Pat Fenlon replaced Colin Calderwood as manager and sit just one point above bottom spot.

However, Hearts boss Paulo Sergio, whose side triumphed 2-0 in the first derby in August, says his players will need to fight to claim all three points.

"It's another game, a different game and we have to focus on ourselves to be competent to have a good performance," he said.

"I believe after a good performance the result comes naturally."

Fixtures (1500GMT kick-offs unless stated)
Hibernian v Hearts (1215), Inverness CT v St Johnstone (1400), Dundee United v Aberdeen, Dunfermline v Celtic, Kilmarnock v St Mirren, Rangers v Motherwell


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