Stiliyan Petrov explains how Celtic have just been handed a "major opportunity"

By David Walton

November 18, 2021

Stiliyan Petrov believes a “major opportunity” has been handed to Celtic in the wake of Steven Gerrard’s departure from Rangers.

The Ibrox boss left Govan out of nowhere last week as he took the first EPL job offer that came up as he was named Dean Smith’s successor in the Midlands. It was a move that came about quickly with Rangers fans left brilliantly devasted by the news.

It’s looking as though the Ibrox club will move to appoint Giovanni van Brockhorst as his successor in the near future [Sky Sports]. However, it could certainly lead to plenty of upheaval with Gerrard taking his coaching team with him.

Photo by ANDREAS HILLERGREN/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images

And Petrov believes Gerrard’s departure could prove to be a “decisive moment” in the title race as he bigged up Celtic’s chances. As quoted by the Daily Record, Stan said: “Celtic haven’t been given a gift by what’s happened with Gerrard moving to Villa, but they have been handed a major opportunity to win the league. It’s an unexpected boost but they will have to make the most of this opportunity by winning games.

“Of course it could be a decisive moment in the title race, Steven Gerrard leaving has in itself given Celtic fans a boost. They will now believe even more that this upheaval across the city is the perfect scenario for Celtic to become champions this season. There’s no doubt Rangers now have a big problem with Gerrard leaving midway through the season.

“This is now the problem which Rangers find themselves in – and it’s a big one. It’s inevitable that disruption is created by the manager leaving. It happens at every club, but at the Old Firm it can send a massive shockwave through the dressing room. Regardless of who the new manager is, it’s going to take time for him to build that trust. Can Celtic use that time? We will see.”

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Celtic can make the most of Steven Gerrard departure by piling on the pressure

It doesn’t matter how highly-rated Van Brockhorst is. It doesn’t matter what he achieved at Feyenoord or how excited the Rangers may be by his seemingly imminent arrival. At the end of the day, an adaption period is a necessity.

Rangers are going to drop points in plenty of games. The new manager will need to try and figure out his best XI and get to know his players. All the while trying to implement his own style of football on them.

Not to mention there could be plenty of top stars that become disillusioned with life after Gerrard’s departure. Especially considering it was the new Aston Villa boss who persuaded them all to stay in the summer in the first place. It’s a bad look for Gerrard and that can leave a lasting effect.

Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images

The first slip-up the new boss receives in Govan will be over-analysed and the pressure will be on immediately. If they fail to get beyond Hibernian in Sunday’s Premier Sports Cup semi-final, for exmaple, there will be early hell to pay.

But Petrov is spot on. The only way Celtic really pile the pressure on their rivals is to win plenty of games of their own. So long as we take care of our own business, we’ll be in a positive state come the new year. A lengthy winning run between now and 2022 and Celtic will likely be top of the Premiership too.

Massive chance is coming to Rangers undoubtedly, but it won’t come without its burises. It’s down to Celtic to ensure they make those punches become knockout blows come May.

In other news, Celtic hero Kyogo receives brilliant foreign media write-up after replacing Liverpool star