The defending champions go into the derby fixture three points behind their arch-rivals at the top of the Scottish Premiership table having succumbed to a 3-0 reverse at Parkhead in the last meeting between the sides on February 2.
Rangers won the first fixture of the campaign 1-0 and Boyd stressed that a repeat is required back on home turf as he dismissed the suggestion that Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men can look at the fixture as a “must-not lose” in the title race .
“For Rangers it’s a must-win,” he told Sky Sports ahead of taking part in the Rangers Legends v World XI match at Ibrox. “Any home game when you pull on that blue jersey you’ve got to win it.
“You’re at home against your arch-rivals, it’s a must-win, especially with the way the league is at this moment in time as well. It’s really tight.
“Rangers will see this as an opportunity to go level, but it’s where we should be in terms of our league towards the end of the season – both huge football clubs going hammer and tongs at it because for the last number of years somebody has run away with it.
“It’s not been competitive for a number of years but this season you feel as if it’s going to go right to the wire.
“It makes it exciting, not only that, there’s places up for grabs to get into the top six, the relegation battle is still on as well, so Scottish football is in a good place and you just hope come next weekend it’s highlighted for the size of the two clubs and everything they bring to Scottish football. Hopefully, they put on a showcase and may the best team win.”
Boyd also warned Rangers to avoid repeating the mistakes from the last month’s Parkhead hammering when they fell three goals behind to Ange Postecoglou’s side inside the opening 45 minutes.
“You are going to have to start the game a lot better, sharper, brighter than you did [at Celtic Park],” Boyd stressed. “The game was over at half-time, effectively, after the start Celtic got. Going into the game, Celtic, there would have been nerves there because you haven’t beaten Rangers for a long time, but when you get that goal so early, you’re pushing and the fans are right behind you. Coming up to half-time then you get the double so quick. To lead 3-0 at half-time I don’t think even Celtic fans would’ve expected that, but that’s exactly the way the game panned out.
“Rangers came out in the second half and tried to get back into it. There’s some encouragement to be taken from the second half and I’m sure that will be message Giovanni van Bronckhorst tries to get across to his players. It’s difficult with international fixtures this week as well. The damage was done in the first half for Rangers and it shows you if you don’t start a game properly you’ll get punished.”
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