By Dominic Toner
John Hartson is convinced Rangers will be way off the title pace on their return to the Scottish Premiership.
Rangers romped to the the title last season in the Scottish second-tier but former Celtic striker Hartson believes they will not be ready to challenge the top flight big guns and their Glasgow rivals.
“Rangers won’t come anywhere near winning the league this season. They are not even good enough to finish third in my book,” Hartson wrote in the Scottish Sun. “I’ve stuck them down for fourth place. Celtic will win the title, Aberdeen will be second, with Hearts not far behind them in third spot.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if Rangers did well in one of the cup competitions, where anything can happen on any given day. But over the course of a season I can’t see them mounting anything resembling a challenge.”
Celtic fans will be delighted by the assessment of Hartson given the great rivalry between the two Glasgow clubs.
Celtic captain Scott Brown ruled rivals Rangers out of the title race and insists that Aberdeen are their main threat.
Rangers were the last side to stop their rivals winning the domestic league trophy and will be striving to do so again after they lifted the Scottish Championship last season with 81 points.
Stan Collymore believes that Rangers can compete for the title and that manager Mark Warburton can help the Ibrox side push Celtic all the way.
Rangers have heavily bolstered their squad this summer by signing former Premier League stars Joey Barton, Clint Hill and Nico Krancjar in a radical overhaul of their playing squad.
Warburton’s only previous experience in management came during his two-year spell with Brentford. He inspired them to promotion in the 2013/14 season, as runners-up in League 1, and then got them to the play-offs in the Championship in the 2014/15 season, where they lost to Middlesborough in the semi-finals.
In other Rangers team news, Lee Wallace has named the two new signings who have impressed him.