By James Black
Arthur Numan has claimed it will take Rangers up to three years to compete with Celtic for the Scottish Premiership title.
The Hoops have won six consecutive titles and go into Saturday’s Ibrox clash on a 56-match domestic unbeaten run and once again at the league summit.
But Numan claims it will need the triple combination of time, confidence and a positive mentality to end Celtic’s domination.
Numan, 47, told BBC Scotland, as quoted by the BBC Sport website: “I hope that within two to three years we can compete with Celtic again, but I still have my doubts about that.
“Celtic have a big squad, a good squad, players that can also play at a higher level. But with a little bit of confidence and some positive-thinking hopefully we can see Rangers competing with Celtic for the league again.”
Numan has spoken about his Old Firm experience and said it’s unlike anything he’s been involved in – and revealed the former Celtic hero who refused to tell him about the Old Firm.
The Dutch legend spent five years at Ibrox between 1998 and 2003 and loved his time in Scotland so much he continued to live near Glasgow after his retirement.
Numan played in two World Cups and two European Championships for Holland but admitted the Old Firm was totally different to either.
Over his five years at Ibrox, Numan was involved in a number of Old Firms – scoring a thunderbolt at Ibrox – and lifted four Scottish titles, three Scottish Cups and three League Cups.
The now-47-year-old also revealed he asked Pierre van Hooijdonk about the Old Firm before his Ibrox move – but the former Celtic striker remained tight-lipped.
“The moment when you go on the park and feel the heat and feel the tension you think ‘Woah this is something different.'” Numan said in a video interview with BBC Scotland.
“I’ve played in World Cups and European Championships but I have to admit the atmosphere when I played against Celtic as absolutely fantastic.
“I remember when I signed for Rangers in 1998, I went to the World Cup and my roommate there was Pierre van Hooijdonk who used to play for Celtic.
“I asked Pierre what it was like to be involved in an Old Firm and he said ‘Arthur, I can tell you about the game for an hour, but I’m not going to do it, you need to experience it for yourself.’
“He was right.
“When you play your first Old Firm with the atmosphere and the tension, then you know what it’s like to be involved in it.”
The Dutchman was Dick Advocaat’s first signing after taking over at Ibrox, costing the Gers £5.5million from PSV Eindhoven.
With Lee Wallace injured and Declan John carrying a knock going into Saturday’s Old Firm, Rangers fans would give anything for a left-back of Numan’s quality once again.
In other Rangers transfer news, a 26-year-old in the form of his life has revealed he was offered a number of deals to quit Ibrox this summer.