Celtic must ask Rangers the on-field questions they've yet to answer
It’s going to be a proper battle between Celtic and rivals Rangers this season as we look to regain our crown.
I have no problem admitting that I don’t expect the Hoops to go running away with the title. I’ve always been pretty content being a realist. I’m not going to say Ange Postecoglou is going to come in and win the treble (although if he pulls it off I won’t be complaining!).
However, I couldn’t help but notice some predictable nonsense over the weekend about Postecoglou’s start at Celtic. Indeed, Rangers flop Cammy Bell claimed that the title could be over one month into the season. Why? Because we might not be up to speed, might get papped out of the Champions League, and might go on a poor run in August [Daily Record].
Please do me a favour. Ever since Postecoglou has been appointed it’s been a case of the worst-case scenarios being put in front of us. We know the risks. There would be risks with any new manager. But what surprises me is this narrative that there’s nothing for Rangers to answer this season.
Steven Gerrard’s side were perennial bottle-merchants when fans were allowed in the door. They still haven’t won a trophy in front of packed houses.
Even their captain stated during the 2019/20 campaign that they struggle when under pressure [Daily Record]. No surprises then that they thrived last term with Celtic capitulating before their very eyes due to shocking mismanagement at dugout and boardroom level.
Celtic can fire all the pressure back on to rivals Rangers
But let’s not act as though these question marks that hovered over our rivals have disappeared. Just because they won a title, it doesn’t mean they’ve overcome their own demons. Remember, they were knocked out two cup competitions after we were eliminated last season. There are still signs they struggle with the favourites tag.
So what if, god forbid, Celtic start the new season off in impressive form? What if it’s ourselves that manages to rack up four or five wins to kick off the season. Have we just to assume that every Rangers game is a guaranteed three points for them?
When Celtic won nine of their first 10 games last term, we went into the first derby two points ahead of our rivals. They had already dropped points at Livingston and Hibernian when the pressure was on.
They’ve still to prove they can deal with an in-form Celtic breathing down their necks. And with fans returning to stadiums, the temperature is going to be cranked up on them further from their own fanbase. A few poor results and Gerrard won’t be looking so invincible after all.
Therefore, the Hoops have to ask Rangers their own questions from the off. As much as everyone seems to be focusing on whether we’ll struggle to kickstart the campaign, there’s every chance our rivals can do the same.
Celtic look a determined football club if the early signs are anything to go by this summer. Let’s see how Rangers cope with what we bring to the table. There are enough questions there they’ve yet to answer.