Lee Johnson tells the truth about Celtic dynamic with rivals despite managerial change

By John McGinley

December 11, 2022

Hibernian manager Lee Johnson believes Giovanni van Bronckhorst was a witness to Celtic strength as much as Rangers regression, speaking to reporters this weekend.

Van Bronckhorst was let go of his position at Ibrox despite leading them to a UEFA Europa League final in May and winning the Scottish Cup last season.

A resurgent Celtic have had incredible league form during Ange Postecoglou’s reign, especially after an initially rocky period at the start of his project.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

It has resulted in a title for Celtic and a big points swing at the top of the table this term, but Johnson reckons it’s less to do with Van Bronckhorst and simply because the Bhoys are better than Rangers.

As quoted by The Daily Record, he said: “Managers are often blamed for the results but normally there’s a bigger picture. I understand the pressure falls on the manager. But if I was an owner and it was my money, and if I believed I had the right man in place, I would give him an adequate number of windows to change it around.

“I feel at Rangers, maybe the expectation was so high and sometimes you can be a victim of your own success. I suppose we’ll only know in a year or 18 months, depending on how the new regime does. Gio could walk away with his head held high and know he’s done everything he could. The Champions League adventure didn’t go as well as a club that size would’ve expected. But it doesn’t mean it’s a bad job.

“Celtic are a top side and, obviously, Rangers are chasing those guys. Looking at it from the outside, Rangers are just not as good – simple as that.”

This is a pretty accurate assessment of the situation, in my mind. I said as much here on 67 Hail Hail following Van Bronckhorst’s dismissal.

It may well be unrealistic for anyone to expect Rangers to close the gap if Celtic maintain their current trajectory under Postecoglou.

Ultimately everything remains in our hands. If the team can continue to show the same commitment and focus as they have done so far under the Australian, it doesn’t really matter what’s going on across the city.

In other news, Yuki Kobayashi gets first minutes for Celtic as Rocco Vata and Bosun Lawal given more chances.