Charlie Christie's key Celtic reminder after Rangers defeat

By David Walton

December 31, 2019

Former Celtic man Charlie Christie has dismissed the Ibrox bravado from Sunday and believes the break will do us a power of good.

The father of Hoops hero Ryan watched the game on and has given Rangers praise for their performance. It was our joint-worst display in a Glasgow derby against them since they were promoted back in 2016. Yet, the fact it was only their first win at Parkhead in nine years shows how dominant we’ve been against them.

Indeed, Parkhead proved a fortress against Rangers as recently as last season. Celtic beat them 1-0 and 2-1 there, but went into the winter break after suffering a 1-0 loss at Ibrox.

Celtic took six points out of six against Rangers at Parkhead last season (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Christie believes it’s worth highlighting just how good the winter break can be to Celtic, as was proved last season. And speaking to the Scottish Sun, Charlie was keen to tame any wild assertions about Rangers.

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“A lot of people are jumping a bit after Sunday because it had been a long time since Rangers had won at Celtic Park. But Celtic are more than capable of going on another 11 or 12-game winning run and if they do that I’d fancy them to win the title again.

“They weren’t able to hit the heights on Sunday. That was the most disappointing thing. Credit to Rangers, they played very well. They stopped Celtic from playing. Winning was a massive boost for them and there’s no escaping the fact that they’re now a serious threat for Celtic.

“This time a year ago Rangers also won the derby and there was big talk about them. What happened? Celtic won the league comfortably. They’ve now got a break to recharge their batteries and I’m sure it will do Ryan and the Celtic squad the world of good.”

Winning run looks essential for title chances

Christie is right to point out last season. We all know what happened after heading into the winter break on a downer. Yet there is also the question mark of whether things are different this season.

Can Neil Lennon rally the troops again? (Silvia Lore/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Celtic have only dropped eight points all season yet still find ourselves second if Rangers were to win their game in hand. Steven Gerrard’s side, meanwhile, have only dropped seven points so far.

Compare that to last season. We had dropped 18 points by the same stage whilst Rangers had allowed the same number to slip. A winning run after January isn’t just ideal, it’s essential given the form that our rivals have been in.

Neil Lennon’s best chance of keeping the title at Parkhead is to assume Rangers will win every week. More often than not they will, and therefore only remarkable consistency levels will be expected from us.

It’s time for Celtic to put Sunday behind us (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Last season, we did have the advantage of a string of having seven of our first eight post-winter fixtures at Parkhead. Not all were Premiership matches, but they allowed us to build momentum. This time around, we have four of our first five league matches away from home.

So it looks as though we’re going to need even more resolve than last season. But this is exactly the kind of situation where champions show their stuff. The road to 1oIAR was never going to be smooth the whole way through, so bring it on!