Celtic's Scott Sinclair looking forward to Old Firm derby
SCOTT Sinclair insists he will thrive on the "hatred" he expects to experience when Celtic travel to face Rangers at Ibrox on Hogmanay.
The 27-year-old winger scored the only goal of the game against Partick Thistle on Tuesday night to take the Hoops 14 points clear of the Light Blues at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership.
Brendan Rodgers' side extended their unbeaten domestic run to 21 games and face Hamilton away and Ross County at home before the Old Firm derby, which the former Swansea City, Manchester City and Aston Villa player knows is the one which will most excite the Celtic fans.
Sinclair scored in the 5-1 home league win over Rangers in September and featured in the 1-0 Betfred Cup semi-final win over the same opponents at Hampden Park the following month.
And the former Great Britain international is looking forward to a red-hot reception at Ibrox.
"It is great," he said. "It is great for all footballers. The hatred, that all the fans don't like you and all our fans are behind us.
"This is the whole point of being a footballer, that excitement and the atmosphere when you go to stadiums like that.
"It's obviously the massive game. All the fans will be up for that one.
"I was on the bench but didn't play in the Man United derby.
"I played home and away against Cardiff when I was at Swansea but it doesn't compare to the Old Firm derbies up here, it doesn't come close to Celtic-Rangers.
"It is so loud and hostile you can't hear any of your team-mates.
"It is great. These kinds of game are massive and just such a big occasion."
Sinclair started for the first time in a month against the Jags after recovering from a hamstring injury and took his tally to 11 for the season, with his 10th league goal making him joint top-scorer with Ross County's Liam Boyce.
However, Sinclair admits the champions' 12th successive league win against an enterprising but profligate Jags side was a slog.
"Being out for three weeks, it felt much longer because of the run of games we have had and the games I have missed," he added.
"It is always nice to come back and get among the goals, it is great and hopefully I can keep building game by game.
"Last night was a little bit of a grind and we didn't play as well as we normally do, but we just go away and look at all the negatives and positives and go in game by game.
"If we can keep playing the way we have been playing we can hopefully keep doing what we are doing and that is winning games."