Barry Ferguson says Celtic boss Neil Lennon will be "bursting" to go again
Barry Ferguson has admitted that Neil Lennon will be “bursting” to get going again, and has stated that Celtic will punish Rangers with any chance they get.
The former Ibrox captain isn’t one we thought would be putting the game into perspective. However, he had enough common sense to recognise that nothing was handed out after Sunday’s derby match at Parkhead.
The 2-1 win for Rangers sends Celtic into a three-week break which should be brimming with nothing expect motivation to get back out there. Lenny’s Bhoys have a real challenge on their hands, and a real barrier to overcome in the games against our old foes.
Yet even Ferguson is big enough to admit that Celtic will come again. Speaking in the Daily Record, he warned his former side of what we’re capable of:
“Neil Lennon will also be bursting to get his team back out there because he knows how high the stakes are about to become. He will be driven by the fear of not winning a ninth successive title and will have his players all wound up and ready to hit the New Year running.
“Rangers have to be ready for it because when you hurt a side like Celtic you have to realise there will be a backlash. I’m sure Gerrard will be warning them they can’t afford to take one backward step between now and May because Celtic will make them pay for it if they do.
“I’m not going to predict Rangers will win this league. But the players now realise they are good enough to take Celtic’s crown. The real challenge starts here.”
Both sides now face a mental barrier between now and May
Probably for the first time since Rangers got promoted to the Premiership back in 2016, we now have a real barrier that we have to overcome. Scott Brown admitted post-match on Sunday that Celtic need to find a way to play this Rangers side (Scottish Sun). He’s not wrong.
Steven Gerrard’s side undoubtedly put the squeeze on us and give us little room to operate. Stopping their midfield domination of this fixture is going to be a real task, and changing the nature of how these games play out is something that needs to be done before we face them again.
Of course, Ferguson is actually spot on to lay down a warning to Rangers. One thing that’s been lacking since Sunday is perspective. You would think that whoever won the derby at Parkhead was being handed the title given some of the reaction.
The serial winners must find a route to success
But the idea of Celtic being serial winners is true. The Hoops have been in this situation before heading into January. Only last season, Rangers dominated a derby to end up level with us in the league. Celtic came back stronger after the winter break and steamrolled ahead in the league. So much so that, by the next time Celtic faced Rangers, we won to go a whopping 13 points clear.
By the time we play Rangers at Ibrox in March, there’s still a chance we’ve managed to race away from them once again. They still have a huge mental barrier when it comes to staying on the front foot against us.
Our rivals have, of course, still laid down a marker with that win. It’s now down to us to see how we respond in what’s shaping up to be an exciting season.