Lennon gives Rangers fans hope but it is wishful thinking
It seems that those down Govania way are in their yearly ‘Going for 55’ period of celebrations. Last season it was because they appointed Steven Gerrard and that he would know how to beat Brendan Rodgers and with that win the league. Now with Neil Lennon being appointed Celtic’s permanent manager they are at it again.
But before the loyal followers of the quintessential British club - except when taxes need paying - get even more carried away, they really should look at Lennon’s stats against Rangers Mk2.
Between June 2016 and February 2019, as manager of Hibernian, Lennon managed in eight games against Rangers - securing two wins, four draws and losing twice. This season alone, Hibernian were not beaten under Lennon against Steven Gerrard’s Rangers side despite a huge difference in spending power and players at their disposal.A no-score draw and a 1-1 draw was all that Rangers could muster against Lennon’s Hibernian side.
So what makes Rangers fans think that they have the beating of Celtic and Neil Lennon next season? Because of the two games he managed against them this season when he took over in February? With a record of one win and one defeat - it is the same record as Brendan Rodgers had against Rangers - with both managers facing their city rivals with depleted sides through injury, key players out of form and other players carrying knocks.
Next season, there will be a different Celtic to the one that Rangers faced this season. Rodgers’ tippy tappy playing from the back will almost certainly be ditched for a faster style of attacking play, and while Celtic will need to strengthen, they not only have the funds to do so, their first team is still there for the most part - it’s not like they need to buy a whole new team like Gerrard did at Rangers last season.
So let Rangers fans have their moment for what it is worth, but when the push comes to the shove Celtic have shown what is needed to win silverware, while Rangers’ bottle crashes as per usual.
With their best player this season Ryan Kent not returning to the club and their top scorer wanting away this summer, while the club try to pimp out captain James Tavernier to potential suitors thanks to some well placed stories given to loyal hounds in the media, Rangers will have their own rebuilding job to undertake and the likes of Jordan Jones and Greg Stewart won’t tip the balance of power in your favour.
Unlike Lennon, Gerrard is up against it next season. He has to deliver silverware. He has to stop Celtic winning nine in a row. Otherwise he will be out on his ear before Christmas.
Rangers cannot afford for Celtic to equal Jock Stein’s nine in a row record - their fans won’t allow it and it will be a beautiful sight when Celtic do match it as the pain down Govania way will be immeasurable!