Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has acknowledged that today’s result at Tynecastle was a big boost for Celtic, who he claims have been waiting for a result exactly like this, The Herald report.
Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard inspired victory over Ross County at Celtic Park on Saturday ensured that a five-point-gap opened over the Ibrox side prior to their match against Hearts this afternoon.
Expecting to win against the relegation-threatened strugglers, Rangers suffered a shock defeat and Gerrard has discussed what it means for the title race with Neil Lennon’s Bhoys.
As quoted by The Herald, he said: “I think, before today’s game, obviously Celtic were waiting for us to blink. Today we’ve blinked. Big time. And I’m not sure there will be too many blinks from now to the end.
“So we need to try to avoid that level of performance from now until the end of the season. Otherwise we might not even be in a title race – never mind competing for the league.
“Listen, if you want to ask questions about bottle towards me and my players, feel free. I totally understand it, sitting here right now. I would totally understand it right now.”
Could be a defining weekend
As Gerrard notes, neither Celtic nor Rangers have dropped many points this season.
In fact, prior to today’s defeat in Edinburgh, Rangers hadn’t been defeated in the league since our derby victory at Ibrox in September.
That makes this weekend one that could potentially define the way the rest of the season pans out.
If Celtic come through the next gauntlet of away matches unscathed then we’re going to be in great shape heading into the final stages of the season.
Ultimately the two remaining derby matches could matter most, but the fact that Rangers dropped points to the bottom-placed side in the league is something clearly of huge concern to Gerrard.
What the Hoops players need to do now is remain focused on their own tasks and ensure we don’t drop any silly points in the immediate future.
A win away to St Johnstone will see our forward momentum continue to grow.
Even though we’re not playing exceptionally right now, we’re on the right track results-wise and will improve further.
Nine-in-a-row is in our own hands.