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BACK PAGE BULLETIN: CELTIC GET 9-IN-A-ROW TITLE WARNING, EX-GER QUITS, THISTLE’S MUDDY MARVEL

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DEREK McINNES is tipping Rangers to be serious title contenders in attempting to halt Celtic clocking up nine in a row.

The Aberdeen manager watched his former side thump his Pittodrie outfit 5-0 in a one-sided encounter in Glasgow at the weekend – and is clearly impressed by a team he believes have been taken to “a good place” by Steven Gerrard.

McInnes guided his team to Scottish Cup and Betfred League Cup successes over the Gers in Glasgow last season.

However, there was no chance of a repeat on Saturday as they were swept aside with James Tavernier slotting two penalty-kicks behind Joe Lewis with Greg Stewart, Alfredo Morelos and Jermain Defoe chipping in with the others.

The win meant Gerrard’s men moved within a point of the Hoops at the top of the table and have only suffered one defeat across all competitions. They also closed the goal difference gap to just one after the Liverpool legend recruited 11 new players in the summer transfer market.

McInnes, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “If Rangers and Celtic are doing their recruitment well and spending their money wisely while having good managers in place, they will be the teams who fight it out at the top of the league.

“For teams like ourselves, I think it is important that we still feel like we can compete in 90 minutes and compete better than we did.

“You can see that Rangers are in a good place.

“They have a good manager, have spent enough money this summer and seem to have spent it well on their squad.

“As I said prior to this game, I do think Rangers will be up there challenging Celtic and maybe for a bit longer this season.”

GARETH McAULEY, the Northern Ireland defender who spent last season at Rangers, has retired at the age of 39.

The former West Brom and Ibrox centre-half amassed 203 Premier League appearances and earned 80 caps for his country, scoring in their first-ever win at the European Championship finals in 2016.

McAuley, who was awarded an MBE earlier this year for his services to football, made seven appearances for the Ibrox outfit.

Prior to joining the Hawthorns side in 2011, where he spent the majority of his career, he also played for Lincoln, Leicester City and Ipswich Town.

Running through the clubs in his career, McAuley completed his tweet by adding: “The final move was also a very special moment; signing for Rangers, the club I supported as a boy.

“To pull on that blue shirt meant the world to me. But it was the green shirt of Northern Ireland which filled me with bursting pride.”

IAN McCALL, the new Partick Thistle manager, was delighted to see his Championship strugglers overcome Inverness Caley Thistle 3-1 in the Firhill club’s first league win of the season .

Youngster Cammy Palmer netted his debut senior goal with eight minutes remaining and, speaking to ptfc.co.uk, he described the “amazing” moment.

He said: “When the ball went in, I didn’t really know what to do. It was an amazing feeling to score my first goal, I went to run away to celebrate and I slipped, so everyone just took the chance to jump on top of me.

“I ended up face down in the mud, but it was all worth it for that feeling.

“It’s great that it was such an important goal, too, Inverness were pushing and it really sealed what was a really important win, we knew how important winning the game was.”

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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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