Celtic hero Chris Sutton has shot down claims from Rangers that yesterday’s win means anything.
Celtic came up short in a dismal 2-0 defeat at Ibrox. It’s the second consecutive defeat for the Hoops in Govan, with Neil Lennon’s chances of getting the job surely taking a bump.
In the build-up to the game this week, Rangers assistant-manager Gary McAllister stated that the game was key ahead of next term. The confidence either side would’ve taken from the game if they won would’ve been substantial.
But Sutton isn’t having any of it. Speaking in his Daily Record column, the former Hoops forward said all it will do is send a wake-up call to the Celtic beaks.
“There’s been a lot of talk about this win being a marker for next season. Nonsense. Yesterday won’t matter a jot come August.
“What it might be is another wake-up call for Celtic. They had one before, when Rangers put them out of the Scottish Cup on penalties under Ronny Deila.
“The Parkhead board took the warning and reacted positively. They’ll need to do so again, so this heavy defeat might not actually be the worst thing. Unlike 2016, this is a wake up call without any ramifications on the pitch.”
The next one is the big one
Sutton makes a great point that will be overlooked here. Come August, absolutely nobody will be discussing an end-of-season derby game when the league was already won from the season before.
What matters is the first one of next season, which will likely be played at Ibrox too. It’s what Celtic do between now and then that matters, as only that match can affect the title race next season.
Don’t get it wrong, of course. The game yesterday was not meaningless. It was huge for Neil Lennon’s chances of winning over the support. He failed massively in doing so, and it gives belief over to the Rangers fans heading into the close-season.
But, fortunately for Celtic, it’s been when Rangers have been at their most confident that it’s fallen flat on their faces.
There are clear areas in this Celtic squad that needs improving or bolstered. The fact that Mikey Johnston and Oliver Burke had to feature yesterday shows just how depleted Celtic are.
How much of a wake-up call this is won’t be answered until the summer. But it needs to be a substantial one, as Celtic have much surgery to be done on their squad.
As for now, Rangers take some bragging rights. Not quite potential treble-treble bragging rights, but some nevertheless.