By James Black

Former Celtic boss Neil Lennon believes the Scottish Premiership will be more competitive this season – and has surprisingly admitted that Rangers have improved under Pedro Caixinha.

Lennon, now Hibernian boss, takes his side to Celtic Park this weekend as he returns as a manager for the first time since leaving in 2014.

The former Celtic captain has already faced Rangers this season – with his side picked up a surprise Ibrox win – but feels the Gers have improved and will push Celtic closer than last term despite making no secret of his animosity towards his old foe.

“Celtic are in a good grove,” Lennon said in an interview with TalkSPORT‘s Alan Brazil and quoted by the Scottish Sun website.

“They were great at the weekend against Rangers, although I think Rangers have improved as well, despite what a lot of people were saying.

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“In the end, Celtic were the better team. But from where they were last year I think there has been an improvement, certainly in the recruitment.

“I think results will get better for Rangers so the league is going to be a little bit more competitive, certainly behind Celtic anyway.”

Lennon spent 13 years at Celtic Park in a variety of roles both on and off the pitch and will likely return to a hero’s reception this weekend – the polar opposite of the one he got at Ibrox.

The Northern Irishman lifted eight Scottish Premiership titles, six Scottish Cups and two League Cups over two glittering spells with Celtic and guided Hibs to the Scottish Championship last season.

Rangers have struggled so far this season under Pedro Caixinha and have only managed to win one for their four home games in the league.

Defeats to Celtic and Hibs, coupled with a draw with Hearts, has left the Gers eight points off Celtic in the Scottish Premiership although they do have a League Cup semi-final to look forward to next month.

In other Rangers news, Scott Brown has taken a big swipe at Pedro Caixinha after the Old Firm derby.

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