JOHN BARNES has compared Celtic to French giants Paris Saint Germain, reckoning that they are complacent but that they have the quality to make things very difficult for Rangers. The Liverpool legend and ex-Celtic manager told the Scottish Sun that he expected his former employers to find their groove and make this extremely difficult for Steven Gerrard’s side as Neil Lennon eyes ten-in-a-row.
“There could be added pressure on Celtic to win the league for the 10th year in a row, but this also puts pressure on Rangers as they will be desperate not to let them win it again.
“When Celtic have all their players back and fit, then it will take a lot of hard work for Rangers to stop them, but currently, they are dealing with the pressure because they’re performing well.
“It’s similar with PSG and them winning the French league so easily every year, when it comes to Champions League games, they struggle as they get complacent due to the lack of effort they need to put in each week in France.
“Rangers need to make sure that they capitalize on the complacency which they are starting to do because now they have better quality players so they are getting closer to Celtic – they need to make sure they keep it going and playing their football, and for Celtic, they need to try to get out of this funk they are currently in.”
Barnes, who was a fantastic player in his day, spoke about Celtic missing players which probably attributes to the slump in form in recent games. Neil Lennon was missing Ryan Christie, Odsonne Edouard, Christopher Jullien, Hatem Abd Elhamed and Nir Bitton for some of the recent games and it has shown with goals being conceded and a lack of creativity in attack.
“Steven Gerrard and Rangers didn’t end up challenging Celtic last season because Celtic are simply still better than them.
“Rangers have been playing catch up to Celtic over the last five seasons so regardless of the mistakes that Gerrard made last season, Celtic still would’ve gone on to win the league.
“Rangers played well for two-thirds of the season, but then it all caught up with them and Celtic took advantage.”
Griffiths, Christie and Rogic have come back into the team, which have resulted in more fluidity in attack. Hopefully the team click in the next few games and really get things back on track as the side go for an unprecedented 10th consecutive title.
Like PSG, Celtic have been the dominant team in their league for recent seasons and this comparison is probably accurate (albeit in differing scales in terms of finance). Celtic will need to up the level this year and have to up their performances in order to surpass the record created by Jock Stein in 1974.
Lennon has been unfairly attacked in recent weeks but the showing this year have been poor. The manager needs supported and the team need boosted ahead of the next few games as they face a challenge to overturn the six/three point gap Rangers have at the top of the league.