TWO former Celtic stars believe rejuvenated Rangers will push their old club all the way as Neil Lennon’s side bid for their ninth successive title.
MURDO MacLEOD said: “It’s been good to watch.”
SIMON DONNELLY added: “It’s something new for the Celtic players to experience, somebody breathing down their necks.”
Goal difference is all that is separating the duo after 13 Premiership games, with the champions winning the first Old Firm game of the season 2-0 at Ibrox in September. The teams lock horns again in the tussle for points again at Parkhead on December 29.
Former Scotland international midfielder MacLeod, who made 281 appearances for the Hoops after being bought by the legendary Billy McNeill for a bargain £100,000 from Dumbarton in 1978, reckons neither club can afford to drop points.
MURDO MacLEOD…”It’s going to be difficult for both of them.”
Wim Jansen’s former assistant boss, speaking to the Sky Sports, said: “It’s been good to watch. Obviously, both sides know what’s at stake. It’s a fight the full way and it’s going to go down to the wire.
“The Old Firm games are going to be crucial throughout the whole season, but, again, you’ve got to look at going away to Livingston, going away to Hamilton, places like that you’ve got to get all three points, as well.
“It’s going to be difficult. Both have good sides, good squads, that’s the big thing this season.
“Aberdeen aren’t maybe as strong as last year, so both Rangers and Celtic have just got to go and win all their games. It’s going to be difficult for both of them, but that’s what they’re there for.”
SIMON DONNELLY…”It’s exciting times.”
Ex-striker Donnelly, who featured for the Hoops for eight seasons and scored 41 goals in 195 appearances, said: “The two teams look better than anything else in the league and they’re not dropping a lot of points.
“It’s something new for the Celtic players to experience, somebody breathing down their necks. They seem to be handling it well. It’s exciting times.
“Obviously, you want a challenge. Aberdeen have been there or thereabouts the last few years and, back in my day, you always had teams breathing down your neck. That’s what Celtic are experiencing now.”
The Glasgow rivals will also contest the first piece of silverware up for grabs when they meet in the Betfred League Cup Final at Hampden a week on Sunday.
The holders are looking to pick up the trophy for the fourth successive year as they eye a spectacular quadruple.
However, Steven Gerrard and his Ibrox players are determined to derail the Parkhead juggernaut.