John Kennedy insists ending Rangers’ unbeaten Scottish Premiership season does not underpin Celtic’s motivation for Sunday’s derby.
The Ibrox club recently clinched league title number 55 and in doing so ended their Old Firm rivals’ aim of making it a record-breaking 10 in a row.
Steven Gerrard’s side were knocked out of the Europa League on Thursday night by Slavia Prague and exited the Betfred Cup at the hands of St Mirren in December.
However, they have won 28 and drawn four of 32 league games and are six games away from an invincible league campaign like Celtic achieved in 2016/17 season, where, indeed, the Parkhead side clinched a domestic treble.
However interim boss Kennedy, who stepped up from assistant manager when Neil Lennon resigned last month, is focusing only on his side putting a marker down for the future.
He said: “It is not something we will use as motivation.
“Our motivation will purely be to take the game in isolation, competing against your biggest rivals, and putting a marker down in terms of what we do going forward.
“What has been in the past has happened, Rangers have won the title, we accept that and it is about moving forward and not just accepting that is going to be the norm.
“We have not shown what we are truly capable of this season.
“I have watched the players in training the last few weeks and I am excited to see them at the weekend.
“The motivation is to deliver the results and performance for the group and the fans.”
Kennedy was asked about speculation linking Celtic skipper Scott Brown with a move to Aberdeen as player/assistant.
The 35-year-old midfielder’s contract is up at the end of the season and reports claim he could join the Dons in a new role if Stephen Glass is appointed as the new boss at Pittodrie.
Former Celtic defender Kennedy, whose retired at 26 on medical grounds, advised Brown to concentrate on his playing career as long as possible.
He said: “Having stepped to the other side, it’s terrific. But for me, maximise your playing time.
“He is the captain of a fantastic club like Celtic, he has had such a successful time so I wouldn’t be in too much of a rush to make that step if I am being honest.
“I spoke to him briefly because of the speculation around it. Scott is very committed to here.
“He is aware of the speculation, there is nothing concrete in that and I am sure come the end of the season, whatever Scott decides to do he won’t be short of offers.
“He is very much an important player for us, an important captain and we very much want it to stay that way.
“Even still at his age, the impact he has in the squad on a daily basis on the training pitch and on the games is massive so it is about keeping that.
“Scott is an honest guy, he is in no rush to make any quick decisions.
“I think he is quite calm about what the future holds for him, he want to give his all to the end of the season and evaluate where he is at and obviously us as a club would want him to continue here but he will be the one to make that decision.
“But very much his focus is on this season and nothing else.”