RYAN Christie has admitted that Celtic are desperate to gain revenge for their humiliating Old Firm defeat at Parkhead back in October when they play Rangers at Ibrox on Saturday – but denied that 10-In-A-Row hinges on the outcome.

The playmaker was self-isolating when Neil Lennon’s team last took on Steven Gerrard’s side as a result of his Scotland colleague Stuart Armstrong – who he had been in close proximity to during the international break – testing positive for coronavirus the week before.

The Scottish champions were without Odsonne Edouard, who had also been sidelined by Covid-19, up front as well as James Forrest and Christopher Jullien, who were both injured, on the wing and in central defence.

Celtic performed woefully in the Premiership encounter without those key men and were comfortably beaten 2-0 by their city rivals.

Christie, who helped the Glasgow club stretch their winning run to six games with a convincing 3-0 triumph over Dundee United at Parkhead on Wednesday afternoon, believes the mitigating circumstances were responsible for the poor display.

He is confident the quadruple treble winners will give a far better account of themselves when they travel to Govan this weekend and admitted they are keen to erase the memory of their home loss.

But the former Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Aberdeen midfielder doesn’t think their hopes of winning a 10th consecutive Scottish titles hinge on victory over Rangers even though their opponents, who have played three games more, are 16 points clear.

“It was frustrating watching it from home the way it panned out the last time,” he said. “There were a few boys that missed out on that game that will be desperate to be involved in this one, and get a taste of it for the first time this season. But we know it will be difficult to come out on top of it.

“We’ll wait and see who is in the line-up. The squad’s done very well over the last few games, we are scoring goals and keeping clean sheets, we are in a good run going into the game.

“Obviously when we went through that run, that dip in form, we knew it was only going to take a slight turn, a wee buzz, and we’d be back at it - as long as we kept to what we know, kept working hard. So we’ve done that, we’re out of the way of it, and out the other side of it and now want to kick on.

“We are in a good run of form, as are they, but at the same time it is a bit of a one-off game, so we have to put everything else aside and come out the better side at the end of it and take away the three points at the weekend. Then we can get to the new year and give it a right go.”

Asked if Celtic had to win at Ibrox, Christie replied: “Nah, we’ve still got plenty of games to go. Still half a season to go. Obviously we are desperate to win the derby, first and foremost, and get a bit of revenge for the first derby when there were a lot of different factors. But there are still plenty of games still to be played to find out who’s won the league.”

Rangers are undefeated in the Premiership this season and have only conceded one goal at Ibrox in 10 domestic fixtures – but Christie anticipated Celtic having their dominance of the Scottish game challenged in the 2020/21 campaign.

“We don’t expect anything else every season when we are right at the top and have been so successful,” he said. “Everyone will keep on pushing us and try and get closer to our level. We are frustrated by the indifferent form, but after that we have come through it and now we look back to our best again.”