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‘CELTIC HAVE LOST FEAR FACTOR,’ EX-GER

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FORMER Rangers midfielder Alex Rae is convinced Celtic’s fear factor has vanished and opposition sides reckon they can beat them.

The team lost just four Premiership games in Brendan Rodgers’ first two seasons in charge, but have already lost two of their six matches in this campaign.

The seven-in-a-row champions have surrendered six points in defeats at Hearts (1-0) and Kilmarnock (2-1) while dropped two more in the goalless draw against St Mirren in Paisley.

Rae, who also had a spell as boss at Dundee and St Mirren, said: “They’re not firing at the top end of the pitch, although defensively they’ve been relatively sound.

“The fear factor’s gone now. Teams feel as if they can get points against Brendan Rodgers’ side.

“I think the hangover from the transfer window – and Moussa Dembele exiting so late – has caused them problems. They’re struggling to get momentum at the moment.”

Rae, though, believes his old Ibrox side can look forward with optimism under the guidance of new manager Steven Gerrard.

The Govan outfit haven’t won the title since 2011, but their 48-year-old ex-player reckons there could be a massive turnaround in fortunes and this could be their year.

Rae said: “It’s a totally transformed Rangers team under Steven Gerrard. Defensively, they’ve been very sound. The confidence is flowing with nine goals in their last two games.

“Gerrard has got them on the front foot and momentum is clearly with Rangers at the moment.

“The key thing is they have players for every position now. I think competition’s been sparse over the years.

“He’s got a belief in the squad and in Europe they’ve really been impressive. There’s a belief this may well be their season.”

Gerrard’s only league defeat this season has come at Parkhead when a goal from Olivier Ntcham gave the home side all three points.

The Liverpool legend’s new-look team were dominated practically from start to finish and the Hoops hit the woodwork FOUR times through James Forrest, Mikael Lustig, Leigh Griffiths and Ntcham.

The Glasgow sides lock horns again in the league at Ibrox on December 29.

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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