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Sport The looming Rangers threat Celtic should fear as former Ibrox star admits 'I would be worried'

09:40  28 september  2021
09:40  28 september  2021 Source:   dailyrecord.co.uk

Rangers REFUSE entry to Ibrox for pundits Neil Lennon and Chris Sutton

  Rangers REFUSE entry to Ibrox for pundits Neil Lennon and Chris Sutton Rangers refused entry to Chris Sutton and Neil Lennon at Ibrox on Thursday, citing security concerns as the reason why the former Celtic pair would not be allowed in to conduct punditry work. It is understood BT Sport were informed of the decision yesterday afternoon, hours before Rangers hosted Lyon in an 8pm kick off in the Europa League. Celtic were facing Real Betis at 5.45pm.Sutton and Lennon were supposed to provide coverage from Ibrox but were unable to fulfil their duties as BT made alternative arrangements to cover Celtic from their London studios.

it's panic stations at Parkhead with the Celtic support fearing the worst after dropping six points adrift of Rangers.

But Maurice Ross reckons the green half of Glasgow will have something to really worry about if Steven Gerrard’s team can finally click into gear.

The Ibrox side have hardly been sensational so far this term yet still sit a point clear of Hearts and Hibs at the top of the table.

It’s the sizeable advantage they have over Ange Postecoglou’s stuttering Hoops after just seven games, however, which has sent grins spreading across Govan.

Postecoglou, though, is refusing to chuck in the towel, with the defiant Celtic boss insisting it’s way too early to count his team out of the title reckoning.

Rangers lockout for Neil Lennon and I is totalitarian nonsense that leads club down a dark path - Chris Sutton

  Rangers lockout for Neil Lennon and I is totalitarian nonsense that leads club down a dark path - Chris Sutton A baffling turn of events saw myself and Lennon told we would not be allowed to assume punditry duty at Ibrox. It was a bizarre and baffling turn of events that saw myself and Neil Lennon told we were not allowed to do our jobs at Ibrox the other night.

Former Gers defender Ross doesn’t disagree.

But he’s not so certain Celtic will be able to cling on to the champions if they can rediscover last year’s swagger.

Ross told Record Sport : “I’m sure Steven Gerrard and his staff will be telling the players, ‘This is just a start - we now need to turn the screw’.

“Looking at the situation seven games in, the thing I’d be worrying about if I was in Celtic’s position is that Rangers have not got going yet - and they’re still six points clear.

“What’s going to happen when Rangers do hit form?

“At the moment, Rangers are finding a way to win football matches. Without being blistering or brilliant, they’re winning.

“They’re churning out those wee 1-0s here and there.

“Rangers have still got the majority of the same personnel that won the title last year so there’s no reason why they can’t rediscover their form.

69% duels won: Rangers dynamo who created six chances stole the show for Gerrard - opinion

  69% duels won: Rangers dynamo who created six chances stole the show for Gerrard - opinion Rangers failed to return to winning ways as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Ibrox by Motherwell on Sunday afternoon. Fashion Sakala got off the mark with his first goal for Rangers to put the club in front, but a second half equaliser from Kaiyne Woolery secured a point for the away side. Motherwell […]Fashion Sakala got off the mark with his first goal for Rangers to put the club in front, but a second half equaliser from Kaiyne Woolery secured a point for the away side.

“When Celtic play well they are pretty special to watch.

“But right now the concern for them is they’re not playing well enough, often enough.

“When you’ve got Callum McGregor and David Turnbull on form, they’re an exciting team. Losing Kyogo for these past few weeks has been a massive, massive loss for Celtic.

Motherwell Reserves manager Maurice Ross pre match © SNS Group Motherwell Reserves manager Maurice Ross pre match

“But I need to go back to it, Rangers have not got going yet but they’re still top of the league by six points.

“What that does is psychologically make everyone think, ‘Oh here comes Rangers, they’re going to trounce everybody every week’.

“That’s great if you’re a Rangers fan but if you support Celtic you must be slightly concerned.

“Right now I’d be saying to the Rangers lads take it easy, don’t get too excited. You’d rather be six points in front than six behind but there’s still a long way to go.”

Ross can empathise with the situation this current Celtic crop find themselves in after losing posting three defeats and a draw from their first seven games.

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  Ange Postecoglou handed Celtic confidence surge due to impressive Euro matchday two record Ange Postecoglou can be buoyed by previous special nights when Celtic really needed a result.But the Australian was keen to stress how impressed he was by the Bundesliga big boys he is about to lock horns with.

Back in 2005, he was a member of the Gers squad who found themselves in a similar situation eight matches in.

Under the cosh so early, the strain on Alex McLeish’s team took its toll and they could only eventually limp home in third place.

“Psychologically you feel the pressure,” he said. “You absolutely feel it.

“There were times when Celtic would play Saturday and we’d be on the Sunday. If they won we’d be thinking that’s us three behind again before we’d even kicked a ball.

“So it does play a part in it.

“Because Celtic have lost so many of their stalwarts over the summer all this pressure will be new to the guys who have come in the building.

“Even the most seasoned campaigners over the years at Parkhead - your Paul McStays, your Tommy Burns - they would have felt that pressure week in, week out.

“The guys there now may say they're not looking at the table but believe me they know they’re six behind with seven games played.

“It’s not a nice feeling. It’s like being in a pressure cooker.

“I always think the proof of the pudding of how guys handle it is not how they talk in the dressing room, it’s on the pitch when the ball is bobbling and the crowd are moaning at you.

How the Celtic players rated in mistake filled loss to Bayer Leverkusen

  How the Celtic players rated in mistake filled loss to Bayer Leverkusen Celtic were their own worst enemies as they fell to a heavy defeat at home to Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League. © How the Celtic players rated in defeat to Bayer Leverkusen. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group) The German side ran out 4-0 winners at Parkhead, a result which leaves Ange Postecoglou's men bottom of their group after two defeats in two. © The Englishman was good, producing very good stops in each half and had little chance with the goals...

“The top players are the guys who still get in the right areas and make the right decisions. Guys like Craig Moore, Arthur Numan, Ronald De Boer. They’re the special ones.

“Right now, Rangers are floating along doing just enough to get wins, while Celtic seem to be brilliant one week and not as great the next.

“They need to find a more ruthless, a more pragmatic way of winning a game 1-0.”

With Celtic toiling down in sixth place, it’s the unbeaten Edinburgh clubs who have stepped up to provide the early challenge to Rangers’ championship mettle so far.

Former Motherwell coach Ross is one of Scottish football’s most modern thinkers on the game and is delighted to see young bosses like Robbie Neilson and Jack Ross take up the fight.

But ultimately he expects this year’s title to boil down to another Old Firm scrap.

Ross - who won two league titles, two Scottish Cups and two League Cups during his seven year Ibrox career - said: “I’ve never seen a table look as it is at the moment.

“But from Scottish football’s point of view, I think it’s nice to see a few teams separating the Old Firm.

“I’m actually really enjoying this league this year.

“Hearts are a decent side to watch, Hibs have got exciting players too while Motherwell are also doing well.

“Listen, we’re all football romantics and we’d love to have a fairytale like this. Every year we hear Aberdeen say they’re going to split the Old Firm but the only time it’s happened recently is when Rangers were rebuilding.

“But I do think Celtic are still a strong outfit with brilliant attacking options and ultimately I do think the natural order will return with Rangers and Celtic up at the top.”

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This is interesting!