• Learning from previous Old Firm mistakes
  • Determined to grasp opportunity
  • Fan spat reaction
  • England Euro 2024 hopes


Jack Butland has been speaking ahead of Rangers' trip to Parkhead to face Celtic.

Here is everything he had to say.

How do the players handle the pressure of the game being a must-win?

The pressure's there regardless, all season long, to win. It's a huge game, of course, must-win for both sides. It's extremely important and decisive in the title race so, for us, it's must-win. The pressure's inevitable when you play for this club so it's something we've all had to deal with all season long and for as long as we're here and players that have been here before. It's part and parcel of it so we're excited for it and looking forward to the challenge.

How's the build-up been?

Of course, it's not just another game but it's another game in our season, it's an important one. Preparations haven't changed, you're focused on a different team, a team that we've faced plenty of times already so we know what to expect. We know from our experience how we can be better and what we can do to be better. There's been opportunities for us so we're going into the game with a lot of confidence and a lot of hope that we can make something happen. The feeling around the whole squad and the whole club this week has been really positive and excited and looking forward to the challenge tomorrow.

What can you do better in these games?

We haven't helped ourselves at times whether it be individual errors or poor starts to games but over the course of the two games from open play, we've defended extremely well. We've given away some goals from set-plays and some quite strange circumstances and some brilliant finishes but we take a lot of heart from that in that all the games we've created chances, we've created opportunities. So it's an opportunity for us to learn from that, to go there with a lot of belief and confidence that we can cause problems. We have done that and we need to do that and be defensively solid and confident we can take something from it.

If you can stay defensively solid, do you feel you can kick on?

We've shown in many games this season across various competitions we've had the ability to go ahead early and stay there, we've had games where we've had to go behind and fight back, games that we've dominated from start to finish. You don't quite know how it's going to go tomorrow, it's a big clash and ultimately there's going to be ups and downs during the game. It's important that we manage the game well, we start well and if we do that it gives ourselves a really good platform to build upon because we've been strong late in games. We've got the ability to do that and the squad that we've got to bring people on to make a difference. So it's important that we're in the game to start and that we're not fighting an uphill battle by starting the game in a poor manner.

The team haven't won at Parkhead for some time, is there a feeling in the dressing room that you have a chance to change the narrative?

Of course, it is. There's always another game, there's always another opportunity. The periods through history where one team's had more success than the other and it swings back and forth. It's an opportunity for us. The past is not a concern to me. I know people will like to address that and make a big deal that it is. I can assure you for this group, it's about the next game, it's about wanting to be successful and try and achieve something. It's an exciting opportunity for us and we haven't even spoke about the past to be honest. It's about what's next and how we can move forward as a team and get better and ultimately win the game.

What did you make of your altercation with a fan after the Kilmarnock game?

When you have a Rangers family as big as it is and you are there with your own kids yourself, sometimes people overstep the mark, especially in front of children. It's unacceptable but that's been addressed, we move on from it and I've got no concerns about that moving forward.

How disappointing was it for you personally?

It's always a situation when people are going to try and make something out of. Wherever you go, wherever you have tensions, you have people that want and expect everything from people. They don't know what's going on half the time. But to be honest that's just part and parcel of football. It's not what this week's about, it's not what tomorrow's all about. Like I said, it's been put to bed many days ago so it's no concern for me.

Are you going to have to start better than you did at Ibrox?

20 seconds into a game isn't necessarily what they did, it was more the fact we didn't start the game particularly well. That's the only thing for us to change. They do press high, it's about recognising the opportunities to do that when the right time is to do that and when to play slightly differently. It's something that we've spoken about and we've addressed in preparation for this game but it's one of their strengths so it's important that we're aware of it.

READ MORE: Rangers' alarming two-year Old Firm record - and what must change

Do you need your second-half performance at Ibrox for the full 90?

I think even in the game in late December and we go down to 10, we still have shown that we've got that fight and that energy to keep going. The fitness levels in the squad and the desire in the squad is to push. Despite losing that game and the 3-3 in the last one, there's signs there that we can go all the way, we can go toe-to-toe and we can get a win, there's no doubt about that. In those games, we've given ourselves an uphill battle to begin with. Like I said earlier, it's important we start well, we give ourselves a platform to play, to build and it gives us a great opportunity to get a good result.

Is it an opportunity you can enjoy as much as possible?

These are the games that you want to be involved in. These are the games that will live long in the memory of people. You've got the opportunity to create or at least start an end to the season that can be really positive for us. It's certainly the way that I'm looking at it. It's an opportunity to do something special for this football club and tomorrow away from home is no better opportunity to do that. It really is a great opportunity for us and one I hope we grasp and take.

Do you still harbour ambitions of playing at Euro 2024?

Said that every time I'm asked the same question. It's always an ambition of mine to be part of England. It wasn't the driving factor in coming up here. If I'm performing well enough to be in the squad then I'll be delighted and if I'm not then there'll be some fantastic goalkeepers going. I'll never be retiring from international football, it's something I love being a part of and hope to be a part of again. If that's the case then brilliant, if not, we carry on working hard.