BORNA BARISIC can’t wait to play in his first Old Firm game.
Rangers’ Croatian left-back has vowed to follow the advice of former Ibrox striker, Nikica Jelavic, and give every ounce of effort to beat Celtic.
Jelavic scored the extra-time winning goal in the 2011 League Cup final.
He hit the net 36 times in 55 appearances for Rangers, but a strike that beat Celtic at Hampden is the one the fans will always remember.
Barisic spoke with fellow countryman Jelavic before making the move from Osijek to Rangers.
He said: “I’ve watched the Rangers v Celtic game on TV and YouTube before, so I’m looking forward to it.
“I watched Dado Prso and Nikica Jelavic play in these games for Rangers, and I spoke with Nikica about it.
“He’s told me everything about the fans, what it means in the city and everything was positive.
“He gave me some advice to be successful at Rangers. The main thing was that I have to fight here, and give everything in every game.
“Nikica said if I do that, the crowd will applaud me and appreciate it. So that’s what I want to do.
“The derby against Celtic was a big attraction to coming here. I’m very excited about it.
“I also know Celtic’s Jozo Simunovic. I played with him for a few months at Dinamo Zagreb when I moved from Osijek in 2015.
“We weren’t great friends, we were team-mates. But it will still be strange to come up against him in a big match with so much rivalry.
“I’m a professional, so I’ll need to adapt and be ready. I’ll watch more Old Firm games on YouTube to feel the atmosphere, and get it into my mind, so that I’m prepared for it.
“People in the city have already been talking to me about the game.
“A taxi driver wished me good luck – but not too much because he was a Celtic fan!
“The best atmosphere I’ve played in was probably for Croatia against Mexico and Turkey.
“We played Mexico in Los Angeles in front of 65,000 people and against Turkey in Istanbul.
“But I expect next week at Celtic Park to be even better.
“In Croatia, I played in some derbies against Hadjuk Split and Dinamo Zagreb, but it’s not like here in Glasgow.”
The big difference about the upcoming Old Firm game is that only around 800 Rangers fans will be at the game.
Celtic reduced the allocation for visiting supporters to mirror a similar decision by Rangers.
Barisic went on: “My brother, Dino, is a big Rangers fan now. He’s always with me and watches all my games.
“He’s just as excited as me. On my first day at the medical, I arrived at Ibrox before him.
“When he arrived at the front door, the photographers were taking pictures of him thinking it was me. So he’s famous now!
“His Instagram followers have gone up. He’ll be at the Celtic game with my father.”