Graeme Souness urges Rangers not to bite on Brendan Rodgers barbs as he tells them what REAL motivation should be

Graeme Souness has warned Rangers not to get dragged into Old Firm mind games – as they shouldn't need any more motivation to blow the title race wide open.

The Ibrox legend is convinced Philippe Clement won’t have to pin any words on the wall from Brendan Rodgers despite the Gers gaffer snapping back at the Hoops boss for his ‘bit of fun’ soundbite at the weekend.

Souness insisted the Light Blues should be riled up enough for the mammoth showdown that could decide the destination of the Premiership crown. The Celtic Park crunch clash is a must win for Rangers with the Hoops three points ahead with just three games to go. And Govan great Souness reckons his old club’s team talk should take care of itself. He said: “The mind games, it’s not a road I went down.

"I take that back to being a player, when I still was one. If anyone said anything mental it meant nothing. That was just the way I was educated. We do our job, we turn up and do it to the best of our ability and hopefully get a bit of work on the day.

"Listen, if you need motivation to play in an Old Firm game then there’s something wrong with you. It’s the biggest derby I’ve ever played in. You have the huge football rivalry between the two biggest clubs in the country. We know there is the unsavoury part to it, or course, but there’s no denying the magnitude of the game. I was lucky to have some real men in my dressing room. I didn’t need to say a word to them on occasions like this weekend.”

Souness is convinced Clement won’t get dragged into the Old Firm madness as he’s been impressed with the Belgian’s impact at Ibrox. Rangers’ season looked a write off when the former Bruges and Monaco boss arrived but looked in pole position until recent slip ups against Ross County and Dundee.

The advantage has been handed back to Celtic but wins against St Mirren and Killie have given the Light Blues a fighting chance. Souness said: “Clement has handled himself brilliantly in his short time at Rangers. He’s been to Parkhead already so he knows the challenges in front of him.

“I thought they were a bit unlucky in the game (the 2-1 defeat in December). They were down to 10 men for a long time yet could have got something from the game. This is not just about this weekend. It’s about getting over the line in the league – and this is a big step towards it. There could still be slip ups somewhere else. It’s not easy to win titles.

“Celtic have been the dominant team in the last couple of years since Steven Gerrard won the title. They have the bit between their teeth and you have to say Rangers are underdogs. They have to deal with that and get on with it. They need to focus, not get sidetracked but anything that goes on, and turn up and play on the day.”

Meanwhile Rangers could be boosted by the return of Ibrox Old Firm hero Rabbi Matondo. The wide man – who notched the last gasp leveller in last month’s 3-3 draw – sat out the last two games but is set to train this week.

Matondo’s sensational Celtic strike scooped goal of the season at the PFA Scotland awards on Sunday and he’s set his sights on a repeat. He said: “We’ll see, that’ the aim. We’re just ticking boxes this week and if I’m involved I’ll look forward to trying to help the team.”