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SUTTON’S ADVICE TO CELTIC BOSS

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CHRIS SUTTON insists Celtic losing to Rangers on Sunday may not be the worst thing for the club!

The champions, hoping to win nine successive titles this season, stumbled to a 2-1 defeat against Steven Gerrard’s side and the former Hoops hero reckons they didn’t deserve to win.

Sutton, now a media pundit, saw his old team surrender their 100 per cent domestic home record as the Ibrox men caught their advantage at the Premiership pinnacle to just two points with a game in hand.

The one-time Celtic forward, speaking in the Daily Record, said: “The big worry for Neil Lennon is his side have now been outplayed twice in a row by Rangers. They were not as poor on Sunday as they were in the Betfred League Cup Final, but no-one can say they didn’t get what they deserved.

“Rangers were stronger and sharper. They had control of the game from the off and were simply better. I don’t think Lennon got much wrong with his team selection, but too many players underperformed. There seemed to be a bit of complacency that crept in.

“Perhaps they felt they managed to breeze it at Ibrox and win the Final at their worst, so didn’t have any concerns about going again on home soil. But that’s not how these games work.

“Steven Gerrard deserves a lot of credit for the performance and maturity his side showed. Questions were asked after they were brushed aside by Celtic at Ibrox and then again after they came a cropper in the Cup Final.

“But he came up with the answers on Sunday.

“Rangers came back from the break last season and had a nightmare February, but I can’t see that happening this time. Both clubs look capable of going on long unbeaten runs and it looks like these Old Firm games will define this season.

“Lennon will need to find a different way to play against Gerrard’s side and January will be important.

“Maybe losing this game isn’t actually the worst thing for Celtic. They will now know they need to look lively if they are to kick on. Another striker is an obvious one, but they also need to look at other areas of the team.

“Kris Ajer is still not the finished article, there are still concerns over Boli Bolingoli, while Mohamed Elyounoussi and Hatem Abd Elhamed have to come back.

“Celtic looked short of energy at the weekend and the break will probably do them good.

“If I was in that Parkhead dressing room I would be feeling a sense of wounded pride and it’d strengthen my resolve. It should do likewise for this Celtic team.”

Celtic never got a grip of the game with their rivals dictating the first half-hour. Amazingly, though Lennon’s men should have taken the lead when they were awarded a penalty-kick, but Ryan Christie’s effort was too close to Allan McGregor at his left-hand side and the Gers keeper beat the ball to safety.

Only moments later, Ryan Kent flashed the opening goal beyond Fraser Forster before the Hoops levelled before the interval with a deflcted shot off Odsonne Edouard.

However, slackness in the home defence again at a set-piece cost them their proud record when Nikola Katic was given a clear run and header to knock a Borna Barisic left-wing corner-kick past the unprotected Forest in the 56th minute.

* HAPPY New Year when it arrives, folks! The Scotzine team wishes all our readers a healthy and prosperous 2020. Have a good one and we’ll see you tomorrow!

 

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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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