THIS will be an Old Firm like no other. The outcome remains the most important aspect of all, however.

Steven Gerrard has experienced both sides of that during his two seasons at Rangers and today he will face a unique derby challenge at an empty Parkhead.

In the history of this great fixture, this will be a first. For Gerrard, all the focus is on a second, though, as he looks to repeat the victory his side earned there in December.

"It’s a difficult question to answer," he said as the matter of the fans was raised at his press conference on Friday. "I’d much prefer there to be a full house and an atmosphere.

"It’s a big part of why I wanted to come up to Scotland - to experience the atmospheres and the challenges of both Old Firm capacities. It will be unique, different and strange.

"I don’t think anyone wants to take part in an Old Firm, or watch an Old Firm, with an empty stadium. That’s not what the buzz of an Old Firm is all about.

"But it is what is. We all have to get on with it. It won’t really affect the outcome of the game because both teams will be emptying everything they’ve got to try and get their team the right result. We’re no different."

The Old Firm atmosphere can inspire or terrify those that take to the field.

This, then, is a very different proposition for both sides on a crucial day in the title race.

"I don’t know, I don’t know – because we don’t know how Celtic are going to approach it," Gerrard said when asked if it could be a more open game without the supporters.

"In terms of us we are going there to try and win the game.

"We will give the players a game plan that we hope is going to be good enough to win the game. We produced there last year but it was the first time we had done so for ten years, so it is a really tough fixture and it is a tough place to go. Celtic are in good form – I think domestically that was the last time they lost.

"We have to be at our best to get the right result here, there’s no two ways about it. But in terms of will it be cagey, will it be open or will it be end to end, I think it is hard to predict 24 hours before it."

There is no doubt that football just won't be the same until the big crowds are back but the new normal is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

Rangers have coped well without the backing of the Light Blue legions so far this term and boss Gerrard said: "Well we have won eight games and drawn two domestically which is quite a solid start and we have also navigated through a real difficult qualifying for Europe so there is not much wrong with the players’ motivation.

"Maybe certain individuals thrive on full crowds more than others, maybe some players are more relaxed with an empty stadium and prefer it more than others. I think they are questions for individual players to answer rather than myself.

"I have had no issue motivating the players from the beginning of the season to now, because they have produced the results that we want. There have only been two occasions where they haven’t come good.

"But in the main they have adapted pretty well to the surroundings and to the empty stadiums and I have been really pleased with him."