St. Johnstone assistant manager Alex Cleland has insisted that Rangers are favourites for this afternoon’s Old Firm clash at Celtic Park – and thinks the lack of fans “might just help” his old side.
Cleland thinks the recent form of some of Steven Gerrard’s players will give the Light Blues a lot of confidence ahead of the lunchtime kick off, picking out the Gers midfield in particular for praise.
While Celtic Park will be empty for the first time when Rangers visit, the former Gers full-back believes it might benefit the Light Blues.
“Rangers are going into the game in better form. They’re favourites,” Cleland said, as quoted by the Scottish Sun.
“They have a lot of players performing really well and they are defending superbly. They’re not losing goals.
“They have added more attacking power and there is a lot of quality in the midfield. There are choices for Steven Gerrard too.
“Glen Kamara and Ryan Jack are usually in there but Steven Davis is so experienced and Scott Arfield has been playing so well.
“So they must be going into this one with a lot of confidence.
“We miss the fans — it’s not been great for anyone and I don’t like it.
“But it might just help Rangers.”
Cleland’s Saints have faced both sides of the Old Firm so far this season, losing 3-0 to Rangers before a late double at home to Celtic ended their resistance and hopes of a point.
The former Gers man knows all about the pressures that come at Ibrox after playing his part in Nine-In-A-Row under Walter Smith and sent a warning to Steven Gerrard that time isn’t on his side to succeed on Edmiston Drive.
“You don’t get too long as Rangers manager without winning anything,” Cleland added, “although I’m sure Steven is well aware of that.”