Celtic skipper Scott Brown admits that comments made by Rangers striker Nikica Jelavic earlier in the season have helped bridge the gap on their Old Firm rivals.

When 'Gers were as much as 15 points ahead of their Glasgow foes, the Croatian international indicated that the title was set to go to Ibrox for a fourth straight season but the Hoops have since cut that lead to just one point.

Ahead of the clash between the two clubs at Parkhead on Wednesday, Brown says that Jelavic's words have spurred Celtic on to take top position by the New Year.

"That fires us up, of course it does. We've just been taking each game as it comes - and taking the three points from them," he said.

"Everyone has had their opinion on how the league race has been going but ours has always been that we could catch Rangers.

"We always believe - we play to win. The Rangers game is a must-win for us and we know it will be hard.

"Going top of the league isn't something we're thinking about, but if we get three points on Wednesday we'll take it from there.

"I know Rangers lost against St Mirren (on Saturday) but that could build them up.

"However, we're on a good run and we want to keep that going. What's happened shows how good our team spirit is.

"We'll take things one step at a time. We've caught up and now we're looking forward to the Rangers game."

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