Celtic vs Rangers: Stiliyan Petrov says Steven Gerrard has the winning mentality

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Stiliyan Petrov scored in Celtic's 6-2 win over Rangers at Celtic Park in August 2000
Image: Stiliyan Petrov scored in Celtic's 6-2 win over Rangers at Celtic Park in August 2000

Stiliyan Petrov says Steven Gerrard instilling a winning mentality at Rangers would be the key to preventing Celtic from winning a 10th straight title.

Petrov was a veteran of several Old Firm games during his seven-year stay at Parkhead between 1999 and 2006 and understands it is a match neither side can ever afford to lose.

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Saturday's contest between the sides has special significance because Celtic are targeting a 10th league championship in a row, which would be a Scottish top-flight record.

While nothing will be decided this weekend, Petrov knows the importance of the head-to-head games between the sides and how Gerrard will be keen to replicate the success he had as a Liverpool player as a Rangers manager.

"To challenge for a title, you need players with a winning mentality and Steven Gerrard has that about him - he shows that he is a winner," he said.

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"He was a winner as a player and he is a winner as a coach. At Rangers, he has to win, because if you don't win, you're judged in a different way.

"You're not allowed to lose Old Firm games. If you lose, you have to wait until the next time you play them and in that period, you're in hell.

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"The fans don't accept it and the club's DNA doesn't accept it and when you have that attitude, it's difficult for it not to be special.

"Being part of that club made me learn about what is winning and what is being dominant."

Petrov says the arrival of the right 'type' of player - those who understood how to be winners - was the key component of Martin O'Neill's success when they shared a Celtic Park dressing room.

"For both of these clubs, it's about winning - losing and drawing is not acceptable," he said. "It's about creating a winning mentality - Martin (O'Neill) brought in a lot of players but he brought in winners and people that wanted to change the history.

"Signing the right player was the key for Martin to be successful."

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