Hoops keeper Craig Gordon has insisted that so long as Celtic play to their full capabilities that they will emerge from today’s meeting with Rangers triumphant.

The Parkhead side can open up a 14-point gap over the Ibrox side if they claim victory this afternoon in the lunchtime kick-off at Celtic Park.

“We know it will be a battle, that they will come out and try to make a few tackles because it’s a derby game and they have to,” said Gordon.

Read more: Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers admits Hoops have spooked Rangers with their run against Ibrox side

“We have to be ready for that and stand up to that. But at the same time we’ve to stay calm and play the type of football we know, if we do play how we can, then we will win the match.”

And Gordon has applauded the contribution made in Celtic’s wins over Rangers from Scott Brown.

Brendan Rodgers has won six and drawn seven of his games against the Ibrox club and Gordon believes that Celtic captain Brown has been hugely instrumental in orchestrating that sequence of results.

“He’s always got a good thing to say, whatever game it is,” said Gordon. “He’s always there to make sure everybody’s ready to go, even at that last moment before kick-off. He can be quite animated, especially in these games.

“Some of his performances in these games have been outstanding.

“When he gets it right, he can absolutely run games. If he’s in the mood and you see your captain like that then it certainly is something that can inspire the rest of the boys.

“Scott can take a bit longer with his talk [in the huddle], depending on what he has to say. But it’s always good, making sure that everyone’s absolutely ready to go.

“He has a controlled aggression. Very, very rarely does he get it wrong. He’s strong in the tackle, but he doesn’t go over the top. He’s just a good leader on the pitch and that brings everybody with him, not only on the pitch but also all around the training ground, in the huddle...everything.

“If you’re ever looking towards anybody at the club then he’s the go-to guy for anything you want.

“When we’re on the pitch, when we need it, he’s the guy who will step up.”

Read more: Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers reveals no boardroom chat yet over Virgil Van Dijk cash bonus​

And Gordon also insisted that Celtic have responded in the ideal way to the defeat they suffered at Tynecastle earlier this month.

Celtic have won all three games that have come on the back of that without conceding a goal, a reaction that Gordon predicted.

“That’s only way we could have reacted to the defeat,” he said.

“I knew we would because of the type of people, the characters we’ve got in here, and who well we did before it. The loss wasn’t going to derail us. We got back up, did the things we are good at, and played out style of football.

“If we do that and perform every week, then we’ll keep racking up the wins. That’s all we’re looking to do.”

Meanwhile, it could be Kristoffer Ajer directly in front of Gordon this afternoon, something that the Scotland internationalist has insisted he has no qualms about.

The 19-year-old Norwegian is expected to keep his place after impressing against Aberdeen and Dundee and Gordon has revealed the extent of the player’s workrate since he arrived at the club.

“I think his loan move to Kilmarnock helped enormously because it proved to himself that he could play at this level,” said Gordon.

“He is such a hard worker, one of the hardest workers in that dressing room as he tries to improve himself to get that chance of playing in the team. Certainly, over the last few weeks, he has taken that chance.

Read more: Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers admits Hoops have spooked Rangers with their run against Ibrox side

“It’s not just his defensive qualities, it’s his qualities on the ball which have been impressive in terms of him breaking into the midfield and making passes. He certainly has caught the eye.

“He came here as a central midfield player and he’s almost had to learn how to play centre back.

‘The way we work here and the coaching staff we’ve got and with him being such a clever guy as well, he’s taken to it. He’s understanding the role and he’s learned how to be in those positions.

“He’s worked hard with looking back at performances and positioning to make sure he’s developed into a very good centre half in a short space of time.

“He’s really big and strong. To be that big already at 19 years of age, it just shows you hard he’s worked. There’s no substitute for that. He’s come in here and worked so hard to get himself in that kind of shape which has got him into the team and been able to cope with the demands of playing.

“You can’t give him enough credit for how hard he’s worked to be able to put himself in that position.”