Massimo Donati: Celtic are "always in front" of Rangers

By David Walton

June 4, 2019

Former Celtic midfielder Massimo Donati has backed Neil Lennon’s appointment and had a dig at Rangers too.

The Ibrox club undeniably got closer to Celtic than they ever have done since coming through the lower leagues. But, despite that, Celtic still finished the campaign with a healthy nine-point margin between themselves and the Govan side.

Lennon would go on to secure the treble treble, and ultimately be named the club’s permanent manager. Lenny came back to Parkhead as a coach when Donati was playing in the heart of the Hoops midfield back in 2008, so the pair have been involved with each other in the past.

Massimo Donati and Neil Lennon had a good relationship back in 2008 (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

And, as he touched on his appointment as permanent boss, the former AC Milan midfielder claimed the club will always stay ahead of Rangers. Speaking in Football Scotland, this is what Donati had to say:

“I think he is the perfect person to manage Celtic at this moment in time when they are focused on doing 9-in-a-row and they want to make history not just in Scotland.

“He knows the club very well and he is a Celtic man, he loves everything about the club. I think he will do his best for the club and the players as well.

“The other club of Glasgow this season did a bit better than the last one but maybe they can do better again. But I think Celtic is always in front of them at the moment, in terms of the players and the club.”

Continuous improvement is the key factor

Donati is 100% spot on. As much as Rangers like to bang on about their improvement, they’re still behind us. Perhaps not as much as they should be, but they’re still playing second fiddle to the Celts.

Neil Lennon kept Celtic ahead of Rangers during the run-in this season (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

The vital aspect going forward, and Donati also touches on this, is continuous improvement. Celtic need that injection of freshness in the summer, with their style of football needing tweaked in order to become an intimidating force for other Scottish Premiership sides.

Celtic also have to assume Rangers will improve. There’s no point being complacent when something as important as 10-in-a-row is there to be grabbed. Peter Lawwell and Lennon should be assuming they’ll strengthen enough to catch us this year, and therefore really look to step ahead and push on.

If you break it down, Celtic firstly have to find cover for a variety of areas where players have departed. We’ve lost two right-backs in Jeremy Toljan and Cristian Gamboa, and could lose a third if Mikael Lustig departs. Emilio Izaguirre is off, meaning we have just one natural left-back.

Celtic have to spend wisely to replace those who have departed (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Dedryck Boyata and Filip Benkovic’s deals are up and need replacing. Then you also have positions such as left-wing, the number 10 area, and perhaps another striker to really push ahead. It’s almost like a total revamp is needed. Or, at the very least, a substantial injection of quality.

Donati is right to have a pop and claim that Celtic are still ahead of Steven Gerrard’s side. But it’s down to the board to assure it stays that way.