Ibrox striker Jermain Defoe says Rangers must respect Celtic

By David Walton

October 14, 2019

Rangers striker Jermain Defoe’s comments on Celtic and our rivals’ title-challenge was a tad more level-headed than his teammate’s.

In recent weeks, Rangers winger Sheyi Ojo has been boasting about how his team are the best in Scotland (The National). That was despite the fact they were sitting behind Celtic at the time and would then go on to lose to the Hoops at Ibrox.

Celtic now sit second in the Premiership after a couple of poor slip-ups. Fans remain frustrated about the idea of us being behind our rivals, but with so many games left to play, no real panic has set in as of yet.

Neil Lennon won at Ibrox to initially give Celtic a title advantage (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

And Defoe was at least open to acknowledging that Celtic are a threat. Here’s what he had to say on our rivals’ title-chances to Talksport (October 14th, 11:30)

“We’re confident, when I look at the players beside me you have to be confident. There’s a lot of internationals, young players who are hungry.

“You have to respect Celtic but I feel that if we continue to keep doing what we’re doing, and the spirit we have now in the club, its only a matter of time before we achieve something special.”

Nothing arrogant from Defoe here – he’s entitled to feel confident

It can be difficult to take the bitterness out of this rivalry. We look upon what their players have to say with disdain so often, and Rangers fans are the same with ours too.

However, when trying to be level-headed here, Defoe’s comments come across exactly the way Ojo’s should’ve done. He has openly said that Rangers have to respect Celtic. Whilst Ojo tried to do similar, he still came out and boasted his side were the best in the country based on next to nothing.

Jermain Defoe was bullied by Christopher Jullien back in September (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Defoe has managed to avoid saying that. All he’s stated here is that he’s confident regarding his team’s chances. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, regardless of whether we disagree.

Unfortunately for us, this is still the kind of confident talk we have to get used to until we get top spot back. Rangers have responded well to the Glasgow derby defeat to us in September. We can’t afford to keep dropping the points we have over the last two weeks either. It’s down to us now to go on a run of fine form.

Celtic still have the quality to overcome their rivals with something to spare (Ewan Bootman/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Whilst Defoe’s comments didn’t verge on the arrogant, they still come across as a tad over-confident. Rangers are still there for the taking, and have struggled in two of their three away games in the Premiership this season.

Granted, our rivals are grinding out wins in important games. But there’s only so long they can get away with performing so poorly. When they do slip-up? We’ll be right there to strike and will be ready to overtake them once again.