O’Neill believes Old Firm experience will give him edge in 'ferocious' Tyne-Wear derby

Experienced Northern Irish boss says his time at the Glasgow giants means he understands the importance and magnitude of their trip to face Newcastle for the club's supporters

Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill believes his experience as Celtic manager will give him the edge ahead of the Tyne-Wear derby.

O’Neill spent five highly successful seasons in Scotland where he regularly got the better of their fierce city rivals in Rangers, once winning seven consecutive Old Firm games

Newcastle are currently 10 points, and three places, better off than his side, but the 60-year-old feels those understandings will stand him in great stead ahead of Sunday’s  “ferocious” game.

"I have experienced an awful lot of derbies, both as a player and as a manager, and in particular a very big derby in world football up in Glasgow between Celtic and Rangers,” the manager told the Sunderland Echo.

"I know that to some Celtic supporters, winning the derby was the be-all and end-all - beating Rangers meant more than whether or not you won the league to a very small minority of supporters.

"I don't subscribe to that viewpoint, but I do understand the passion of the derby rivalry - and I know it will be exactly the same on Sunday.

"It's a massive game and it's one I am looking forward to. It's a ferocious derby and I'm sure it will be played at a great pace.

The Black Cats lost the reverse fixture 1-0, while also suffering a 5-1 thrashing last season, but O’Neill is confident his side can triumph following recent transformation in form.

"We are away from home, which makes it difficult, but we have to be ready for it, and if we perform as strongly as we can, of course we can win it."