Exclusive Interview – Paul Lambert of the title race, Brendan Rodgers and Celtic Board

Like it or not, Celtic are in a title race. We are currently top of the table, but if theRangers win their game in hand tomorrow night, against Ross County at Ibrox  by three clear goals, then we will lose our top spot. It’s a position that we’ve held since that memorable night in February 2022 when we blew away theRangers under the lights at Celtic Park with two first half goals from Reo Hatate and another from Liel Abada.

So what do the Celts need to do in order to get this league title secured? This morning, The Celtic Star spoke exclusively to Paul Lambert about this season’s title race and as you would expect the former Celtic captain believes that we can win the league title provided we maintain our dominance over theRangers in the hugely important Glasgow Derby matches.

Celtic of course have won both fixtures this season, with Kyogo scoring the winning goal on each occasion, and this form indicates to Lambert that Celtic remain in the driving seat, having shown that they have the measure of theRangers.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Paul Lambert told The Celtic Star exclusively via BoyleSports who offer the latest SPFL Betting: “If the two sides keep winning up until the Derby games, you tend to think that whatever team wins that has a bit of an upper hand and so far this season that has clearly been Celtic. Either way, they’re still going to play each other twice. One at Ibrox and one at Parkhead. So, a lot will depend on the two games I think, if the two of them can keep on winning.”

With rumours emerging today out of Ibrox of a possible solution to the away fan ban at both grounds – the latest Ibrox club are reportedly looking at offering Celtic 2750 tickets for the game in April. Presumably Celtic, if they accept this offer, will provide a similar number for the post split fixture at Celtic Park in May.  This is good news  according to Paul Lambert as he is dislikes the absence of away fans. He said: “It’s no good for the game. I think that’s the spectacle of that game. You let Celtic fans in, and you let (the)Rangers fans in.”

Outside of these games, Lambert spoke about what he thinks both sides need to do if they are to stand a chance of lifting the Scottish Premiership trophy in May.  “Just win games. It’s as simple as that, if you win games, then the job becomes a little bit easier, but the pressure will be picking up for both sides as the season progresses. .

theRangers have pulled the gap back. Celtic are sitting top, albeit with a game in hand. I know what it’s like there, and it’s a club where you have to win, there’s no other way to dress it up. You have to win games there and the team have been going great for a number of years. Brendan’s come in and has done really well with it and he knows it from before.

Kyogo Furuhashi of Celtic celebrates after scoring during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between theRangers and Celtic FC at Ibrox on September 03, 2023.(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Lambert reckons that it’s going to go to the wire but Celtic having the knack of winning the Glasgow Derbies could be significant, “Celtic have had the upper had in the earlier meetings this season so that could be decisive, but I think it will go pretty close,” he admitted.

As Lambert touched on, there is an incredible amount of pressure that comes with being the head coach at a massive club like Celtic. Recently, fans have been less than impressed with the team’s performances. Despite this, Lambert believes that Brendan Rodgers will be at the club for the long term. He said: “He’s only been there a short time. He knows the club and he’s sitting top of the league at the minute.

Brendan Rodgers gives instructions during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between theRangersand Celtic FC at Ibrox on September 03, 2023. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“That’s the beauty about Celtic, there’s no in between. You’ve got to win games there. Brendan will know that anyway from what happened before. It’s a club that has to win because of the history attached to it. But I don’t think there’s a problem there. I know that the Celtic fans will be saying little things, but I don’t see that being a problem.

“You’re one pass away from a crisis up there. That’s what they give you. I’ve seen great players playing for Celtic and crumble with the atmosphere and how it can go if you’re not winning games. So, I know exactly what it’s like.

theRangers v Celtic – Callum McGregor celebrates the win after the cinch Premiership match at the Ibrox on Sunday September 3, 2023. Photo Andrew Milligan

“I’ve got every respect for the players who’ve walked through the doors there. If you don’t get it right and you don’t perform, then you know what’s coming. It’s a club that have built an unbelievable history and you’ve got to be mentally strong to be able to play there. If you go there, you buy the ticket, you know exactly what’s coming.

“So that doesn’t wash with me, ‘it’s a crisis’ and all that. It makes me laugh really because I think it comes from people that don’t really know what it’s like at Celtic”

Celtic CEO Michael Nicholson at the St Mirren v Celtic Scottish Cup tie at the weekend.

Of course, it’s not only the manager and players that are on the receiving end of criticism though as the board are often under pressure for what some fans see as greed and lack of ambition. Though, Lambert disagrees with the notion that the board aren’t ambitious, saying: “They have to run the club. Celtic can’t compete with England. That’s number one because the finances through Sky and TV rights and all those sorts of things. You have to run your club where you’ve still got a club at the end of the day.

“The Celtic board do really well. I’m pretty sure if they could go and get guys at £50 or 60 million, they would. Matter of fact and reality is, you can’t because you’re in a country and a league that isn’t as powerful as the Premier League or the Bundesliga. It’s really difficult for them to compete revenue wise.

“They compete really well in Europe, they always have done. They just need to get through the group stages but regarding running the club the right way, so it’s not in trouble in the future, the board will know what they’re doing.”

So there you have it. In part two of this exclusive interview with Paul Lambert, the former Celtic captain tells us what he thinks about Scottish refereeing standards and gives us his thought on VAR.

Jessica Elliott

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About Author

I'm a student journalist and Celtic supporter. I'm delighted to have been recently appointed women's football writer for The Celtic Star, where the coverage of the Celtic FC Women's team has been incredible and unrivalled over the past three seasons.

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