Celtic and Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish believes that if Rangers win next weekend’s Old Firm clash at Ibrox, Brendan Rodgers’ side will need to sit up and take notice of the Gers – but insists the Hoops are a “distance” ahead of their bitter rivals.
The two sides meet at Ibrox next weekend in a match that will have huge ramifications on the outcome of the Scottish Premiership wiith Graeme Murty’s side currently six points behind the defending champions in the table.
A win at Ibrox would close the gap to three points with Rangers having played one game more than Celtic but would also strike a huge psychological blow to Brendan Rodgers’ side if they lose to their rivals in the league for the first time in six years.
Dalglish believes the gap has closed between the two sides and thinks his old side will “welcome” the competition after five years of winning the league at a canter as the Gers made their way back up through the leagues.
“There is no doubt the gap is not as wide was it was six months or a year ago – but I do believe that Brendan Rodgers and his players are still a distance ahead,” Dalglish said, as quoted by the Sunday Post.
“I have a feeling Celtic will welcome this chase from Rangers, and will want to show exactly what they are made of.
“They are still undisputed champions and, as yet, their Old Firm rivals haven’t found a player capable of taking away the dominance Scott Brown has enjoyed in the engine room in recent years.
“However, a win for Rangers next weekend would have us all sitting up and taking notice.
“It would see the gap between the sides reduced to three points, and you would then have to declare that a title race is genuinely on.”
The two sides have also been drawn to face each other in next month’s Scottish Cup semi-finals to set up a third Old Firm clash in the final three months of the season.
Despite not beating their rivals in the league since 2012, the Gers have won against Celtic in the Scottish Cup since their meltdown in 2012 when Mark Warburton’s side bested the Hoops on penalties in the 2016 semi-finals.
Football Insider verdict:
While Dalglish might think there is a “distance” between the two sides, on recent form there’s very little to back that up. The sides are as close as they’ve been for a long time there is little between the two now. For the first-time in years, there’s a genuine argument that the first-pick at Ibrox is every bit as good as their counterpart across the city and it is starting to show in results for the Light Blues. Sunday’s Old Firm clash is likely to have some huge repercussions at both clubs depending on the result and could drastically change the landscape in Scottish football overnight.