FORMER Celtic star Kris Commons reckons Rangers are about to get involved in an action replay of last season.
Twelve months ago, the Ibrox club were joint top of the Premiership with Brendan Rodgers’ team although the champions had a game in hand.
A deflected goal by Ryan Jack had given Steven Gerrard’s men their first win over their great rivals for the first time in 13 outings against the former Liverpool gaffer.
However, the Govan club made a catastrophic start to 2019 by losing 2-1 to Kilmarnock at Rugby Park where, with the greatest of ironies, the winning goal was scored by Jordan Jones, who had already signed a pre-contract with the Glasgow side.
Gerrard’s men never fully recovered and Celtic went on to clinch eight in a row on their way to the unprecedented treble treble.
A headed winner from Nicola Katic gave Gers their first win in the east end of the city in nine years in the last game of 2019 to leave them two points adrift of Neil Lennon’s side, but with a crucial game in hand.
But their title hopes suffered a gigantic setback at Tynecastle on Sunday as they collapsed to a 2-1 defeat against rock-bottom Hearts with new signing Liam Boyce getting the winner near the end.
Commons, speaking to the Daily Mail, said: “For Rangers, there are signs of déjà vu from last season in terms of how sluggish they’ve looked after the winter break.
SEEING RED…Alfredo Morelos is dismissed against Motherwell by referee Don Robertson.
“That’s now three sub-standard displays on the trot. Gerrard admitted he was ‘bored’ watching the 2-0 Scottish Cup win over Stranraer as fringe players failed to take their chance.
“Next came a 1-0 win over St Mirren which was hardly anything to write home about, before they fell to defeat at Hearts.
“That’s an alarming trend and Gerrard’s celebrations at the end of the Old Firm game prior to new year now look wildly premature.”
Former Scotland international midfielder Commons, now a media pundit, added: “Towards the end of my career, I always tried to avoid giving it big licks.
“You don’t want to end up with egg on your face, so you learn to keep a lid on it until you actually have a trophy in your hands.
“From his slip against Chelsea at Anfield a few years ago, Gerrard knows just how fine the margins can be in a title race.
“The same applies to Neil Lennon after his experience of Helicopter Sunday as a player and then the way the title got away from him at the last couple of hurdles in 2011.
“You just can’t afford to be dropping points against a team who are bottom of the league, although you have to say Hearts were massively improved from what we’ve seen previously this season.
“It’s not as if Hearts got away with it or it was smash-and-grab. They were the better team and deserved their victory.
“It would certainly help Rangers if Morelos could stop getting himself suspended for the most idiotic of reasons.
“But what would help Gerrard most of all is the addition of some extra firepower alongside the hot-headed Colombian.”
The Premiership continues tomorrow night with Celtic taking on St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park while Rangers host Ross County, who were beaten 3-0 at Parkhead on Saturday.