Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Celtic Boyd up as Rangers feel the pressure

Former Celtic skipper Tom Boyd feels the pressure of stopping the Hoops clinching their fourth successive title, coupled with the financial imperative of the Champions League, could be scuppering Rangers' championship bid.

Rangers this week lost pole position in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title race after following up their Old Firm victory with a 1-1 draw at Hibernian.

Rangers needed a late Nacho Novo equaliser to draw level on points with Celtic, who beat Dundee United 24 hours earlier. But the Hoops have a two-goal advantage — and have scored eight more goals — going into the final two games.

Boyd was a Celtic player during most of Rangers' nine-in-a-row years so he knows what pressure the Ibrox squad will be under to prevent their rivals extending their winning sequence.

Rangers have only been top of the SPL for a total of two weeks since losing their early-season lead in October.

A shock home defeat by Inverness blew their hard work in March after overturning a seven-point deficit.

And their latest advantage, won by edging a well-contested derby at Ibrox, lasted only four days.

"It's quite possible that once they get into that position, they are not quite sure how to go on," Boyd said.

"They didn't start the game well and the second half they played a lot better.

"Maybe that's a scenario that they are not taking advantage of, being in that position — it could be the added pressure of being top of the league and having to win the championship to stop Celtic."

Rangers declared themselves open to offers for their top players in January and accepted a bid for top scorer Kris Boyd, who rejected the offer from Birmingham.

And the need to sell highly-rated players will not dissipate in the summer, unless they secure a £10million Champions League bounty by winning the title.

The title chase continues tomorrow when Rangers host Aberdeen — Celtic go to Hibernian on Sunday.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre