Quick links



Has Brendan Rodgers tried to take pressure off Celtic ahead of Rangers test?

Celtic Manager Brendan Rodgers celebrates during the William Hill Scottish Cup Final between Celtic and Aberdeen at Hampden Park on May 27, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Celtic meet Pedro Caixinha's Glasgow Rangers at Ibrox next week.

Pedro Caixinha manager of Rangers looks on with Brendan Rodgers manager of Celtic during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox Stadium on April 29,...

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers told The Telegraph this weekend that Rangers will be planning to win the Scottish Premiership this season, based on their spending. Gers manager Pedro Caixinha oversaw a clearout at Ibrox this past summer, in which eight new players - and three loan additions - joined Rangers.

Two of them, Alfredo Morelos and Graham Dorrans, were on the scoresheet in the 2-2 draw at Partick Thistle on Friday and the Celtic manager claims that his side's Old Firm rivals - who are five points behind them in the table - should be looking to go all the way.

Celtic Manager Brendan Rodgers  and Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha are seen during the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final match between Celtic and Rangers at Hampden Park on April 23,...

As it happens, Rodgers's comments come less than a week before both Glasgow giants square off at Ibrox in the first Old Firm derby of the season.

And it is possible that the Northern Irishman is alleviating - or trying to alleviate - some pressure on his troops by pointing out Rangers' outlay, but it won't work. Celtic, despite Rodgers's suggestions that Caixinha has spent more than him, remain firm favourites and that's the tag they'll bring into the game.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers encourages his team from the sideline during the William Hill Scottish Cup Semi-Final between Celtic FC and Rangers FC at Hampden Park on April 23, 2017 in...

The Hoops are bruised, having lost 5-0 to Paris Saint-Germain, and Rodgers's comments read like a poor attempt to make out as if his side should be considered underdogs.

The Gers don't quite have a 'nothing to lose' mentality, because victory would reduce the deficit to five points from the Premiership leaders and reigning champions, but defeat for Celtic is a much bigger story than it is for Rangers and the former Liverpool boss will do well to convince his players that they aren't expected to win.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch