Paul Lambert knows all about the pressures to stop 10 in a row. He also knows how to deliver in such circumstances, scoring a stunning goal in the New Year’s derby during that incredible campaign when Celtic stopped the 10 back in 1998.
Now, the new Rangers face similar pressure to that felt by Lambert and his Celtic team of just over 20 years ago. Many of the club’s fans will have experienced the highs of the old Rangers almost completing a decade of dominance, now they will desperate not to see Celtic go one step further.
Lambert told the Scottish Football podcast that the pressure to stop Celtic will be “horrendous” this season. The former Celtic captain also described the 1998 title win as “the hardest title” in his career.
“There’s a lot more pressure on trying to stop it than winning it,” he said.
“If you don’t win it, people are really disappointed, but you’ve still got nine and everybody’s the same.
“But if Rangers lose 10 in a row now, the history of Rangers is gone. That’s the pressure we had.
“John Clark, Billy McNeill, Bertie Auld, Ronnie Simpson, Jock Stein, Jimmy Johnstone, all those great guys… did you want to be known for losing their history?”
Lambert feels that his former club are in pole position with stability and confidence. The Hoops won the title with a 13 point margin last season, four points better than the previous campaign. This season, Gerrard’s third bite at the cherry as a manager in the Scottish game, will be crucial.
“If Steven doesn’t know pressure, it will come now,” Lambert added. “The Rangers fans will make it a furnace of a place if they don’t win.
“The Celtic pressure will be an enjoyable one. The Rangers pressure is going to be horrendous. It’s not the Rangers guys’ ability, it’s in the brain. Mentally can they handle it?
“Chasing a title is incredibly tough when your rivals are a good bit away from you. If you can’t handle that Rangers crowd baying for you to win every game to stop your oldest rivals taking away your history, players can capitulate in front of 50,000. They don’t want the ball because they’re scared.”
— CeltiGraph (From 🏠) (@CeltiGraph) July 13, 2020