Complacency continues to dog Celtic in Old Firm draw with Rangers

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers watches from the sidelines during the Champions League second round first leg qualifying game between Linfield and Celtic at Windsor Park on July 14, 2017 in...

Celtic may have a comfortable lead at the top of the league, but they are not quite sweeping aside all before them right now.

Josh Windass of Rangers is challenged by Stuart Armstrong of Celtic during the Scottish Premier League match between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic Park on December 30, 2017 in Glasgow,...

Celtic were held to a goalless draw by Rangers in the Old Firm derby on Saturday, ending 2017 eight points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

That stalemate ended a three-match winning run, having previously seen a 69-game domestic unbeaten streak ended in a thrashing at Hearts earlier in December.

Celtic's Tynecastle mauling should have guarded against the complacency that had threatened to let others into the usual one-horse title race.

Stuart Armstrong of Celtic holds his head as another Celtic Chance is missed during the UEFA Champions League Qualifying Third Round,First Leg match between Celtic and Rosenborg at Celtic...

Much as Arsenal's Premier League invincibles of 2003-04 focused on not losing games rather than winning at times, five draws in the league prior to the Hearts clash represented a fairly poor return for a Celtic side far superior to all of their opponents.

Brendan Rodgers' men were given a wake-up call against Hearts but also no longer had to worry about their stunning run coming to an end.

And that initially worked in Celtic's favour, with victories over Partick Thistle and Dundee sandwiching a key triumph against Aberdeen.

The return of this dominant form continued in the first half against Rangers as Celtic tore forward and threatened to score over and over again, but Rodgers' side then faded after the break.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is seen during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Motherwell at Celtic Park on December 2, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland.

While the Old Firm was once one of world football's most competitive fixtures, there is no excuse now for Celtic not to be beating their great rivals - particularly having been warned by Hearts of the dangers of underperforming.

Yet Rangers could well have themselves snatched victory in the second half on Saturday.

It is crucial that Celtic heed these warnings in the new year and return to their usual ruthless selves.

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