Everything that Brendan Rodgers said to the media ahead of Celtic's Scottish Premiership match against Rangers

Can we start with an injury update? How is Cameron Carter-Vickers?

He will not be available for the next couple of games. It is not longer term but we probably won't see him until after the winter break.

How big a blow is that for you and him going into such a big game?

Well, it is, of course, but I always think it is an opportunity for someone else. We had it in the last game at Ibrox when Gustaf (Lagerbielke) and Liam (Scales) came into the team. For the likes of Liam, it was the making of him. It is always sad whenever you lose a top player but hopefully, he won't be out for too long a time and he will be back after the break. Hopefully, he can steer clear of injury for the second part of the season.

Any more news on Reo Hatate and Liel Abada?

They have trained. Liel has trained a little bit longer and we don't want to rush them. If they come through training well today then they will be involved in the squad.

There is always so much hype around this game. How much are you looking forward to it?

Yeah, very much so. I always do. These are amazing games. It is such an iconic game to be involved in and we got a great result at Ibrox earlier in the season. Now we are in front of our supporters and we are excited by it.

You have played big games without Carter-Vickers and Stephen Welsh has filled in. Are you quite confident in the options you have got there heading into this game?

Yes. Absolutely. You watched Stephen play well against Feyenoord. I like seeing him. I brought him through here as a young player in my first time around as the manager. He was only a kid then but he has matured. He hasn't played as much as he would have liked but that's only because of the form of Cameron and Carl Starfelt when he was here. He was always there as a loyal support and I know that I can trust him when I put him in. If he is the guy that gets the chance to play then I have every faith in him to perform.

Liam (Scales) had a great performance earlier this season against Rangers, if Stephen is selected he can emulate Liam and kick on, can't he?

Yes. I think players know that the opportunity is there. Liam from that moment has kicked on and established himself as a very good player. You always want your best player available but we've always got people to come in and take their place.

Is the timing of this game important? It is before the winter break and you'll want to go into that break on a high and a win against your closest rivals would do that.

Yes. It is important performance-wise too. We came off the back of two good wins which was more like us in terms of urgency and intensity. In the last game against Dundee which could have been a tricky game for us because Tony Docherty has done a great job with them but we went up there and dominated the game. We gave no opportunities away in the game and we were relentless in our attacking mentality. We go into the game in a good place and we want to continue with that.

We were speaking to Callum (McGregor) about the magnitude of the game and the fact that you can become an instant hero in the eyes of the supporters in a match like this. Is that the sort of carrot for the newer guys that have come into the team this season? One spark of brilliance in this match and you are replayed in Celtic highlight reels for the rest of your career.

That's true, for sure. They are great games. They are iconic games to perform in. I think if you can make a big contribution to the biggest games then you are always going to be remembered at clubs like this. It is a fantastic game to be involved in. The atmosphere will be electric and that is what I can't wait for. It is up to us to bring that urgency and intensity.

You have been involved in many of them. Do you still get those butterflies of excitement before a Rangers match?

Yes. Always. It is such a special match and there is real pressure around the game but to see the team perform under that pressure is what I have always enjoyed.

It's a full house inside the ground. Every single seat will be filled by a Celtic fan. Does that give you a huge drive and give you the energy that transmits from the stands to the players?

It does because if it rolls down from the stands onto the field it can be a great boost to the players. That emotion, that positivity, it is something that Celtic is all about. That relationship between the supporters and the players and that encouragement. I still think the game is best whenever there are away supporters in attendance. That is my honest take on it. It is our turn to play at home with all our supporters and we will relish that.

I don't know if you saw the scenes in the Edinburgh derby with the last-minute goal and the Hearts fans celebrating that. Did that confirm to you that derby fixtures are better when there is a big away support?

No, I don't need that for confirmation. I think it was a great goal by Lawrence Shankland, to be fair, he's a fantastic finisher. It was great for them. I didn't need that to confirm anything. The game is about the supporters and whenever Celtic have that element of away support there it always adds to the game. We are at Celtic Park and with the noise that will be there, I will still look forward to it.

Just in terms of Liel and Reo. There is a duty of care to the players and not to rush them back. Are they both chomping at the bit to get back, especially knowing what lies ahead?

Yeah, well if you think of the two of them they’ve not featured really at all that much throughout this first part of the season, and they’re two players that have contributed over the last few seasons. So, yeah they’re excited to be back. Like you say I’m just mindful of the stage that they’re at but they’ve shown up well in training, they’re happy and want to be involved, We’ll see hopefully they’ve come through with no ill effects after today.

They both had a big impact on this fixture as well at Celtic Park in the last couple of years, is that on your mind as well that they can produce in these big games?

They are both very good performers, I think Liel is a player, he’s a goal scorer, he plays wide, but for me, he’s a goal scorer, so I think his record since he’s been here goals to game is very good, so I know he just wants to get back on the field. Again it’s been a challenging few months for him with injury and everything else, but he looks really good in training and if I need him throughout tomorrow or the coming, or the rest of the season then I’ll be happy to do that and Rio is a big talent so it would be great to have him back.

Have you had this game in mind for them for a wee while now, has it been geared towards this game for them?

Not really no, it's just been about seeing where they were at in terms of the process, because you can never, you can never plan too far ahead but certainly, they’ve come through quicker than we anticipated, but that’s a great reflection on their professionalism and how hard they’ve worked to come back.

Can I just ask you about Rangers, have you seen a big difference in them under the recently appointed manager?

Yeah, I think Philippe has done very well since coming in. I think he’s come in with experience and common sense in terms of setting up the team, all the players working together, know their job and you can see they’ve benefited from that, so they’ve got good players. But I’m looking forward to the game, it should be a football game, the last number of weeks we’ve played a lot against back fives and teams low in the field, this should be hopefully a really good football game. But in terms of him, he’s come in and did very well.

Harry Kewell, there’s been a lot of speculation regarding his future, can you just bring up to date about if he’ll still be at the club or not?

 Yeah, we’ll probably know more in the next few days, but yeah he’s been in talks to go to Japan, so that’s something that will probably be clarified over the coming days