SIMON Donnelly has questioned if any Rangers player is good enough to get into the Celtic starting line-up – and predicted the Parkhead club will beat their Ibrox rivals in the Betfred Cup final if they perform at their best.

Steven Gerrard’s team have launched a strong challenge for the Ladbrokes Premiership this season and are just two points behind Neil Lennon’s side in the top flight table after playing 15 games.

The Govan outfit have also performed superbly in the Europa League and are a point clear at the top of Group G with one match, against Young Boys at home on Thursday, remaining.

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Goalkeeper Alan McGregor, right back Borna Barisic, midfielders Steven Davis and Ryan Jack, winger Ryan Kent and striker Alfredo Morelos have all been outstanding.

But Donnelly, the former Celtic forward who won every major honour in the Scottish game during his time in the East End in the 1990s, still believes his old club is superior in every department and will win their 10th consecutive domestic trophy this weekend.

“Everyone is loving the challenge from Rangers,” he said. “You like the banter, you like the edge and I’m happy that they are back. I want that rivalry and that intensity and then I want Celtic to go on and win it.

“It’s good to have that rivalry. It’s great what Celtic have achieved in the last few years, but you don’t want them to run away with it. You want a challenge.

“But if I have my Celtic hat on then I’m quite comfortable going into the cup final. I have watched both teams and I’ve seen Celtic at close quarters and I think if both teams play to their potential then Celtic will win.

“I think Rangers have improved, but how many players would get into the Celtic side?

“I think Ryan Kent’s decent and could be a player from what I’ve seen and is probably their best player, but who would he replace? Celtic have James Forrest and Ryan Christie.”

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Celtic were only seriously challenged by Rangers once during their run of eight consecutive Scottish title triumphs – last season when the Glasgow clubs were level on points entering the winter break in January.

But they pulled away in the second half of that campaign and ended up winning by a comfortable margin.

However, Donnelly, who helped the Parkhead club win the league on the final day back in 1998 during his own playing days, has been impressed with how Scott Brown and his team mates have coped with the threat to their domestic dominance.

“Celtic haven’t experienced someone breathing down their neck for a while,” he said. “When there was any kind of setback in the last few seasons under (Brendan ) Rodgers then the team answered it. An example of that was going to Ibrox and winning 3-2 (two seasons ago).

“This is a new experience for them, but they seem to be savouring it. I know how it feels to have teams breathing down your neck such as Rangers and Hearts when we won it.

“I remember immediately after our game you would look to see what the other results were. So this is a whole new ball game, but Celtic seem to be handling it.”

Simon Donnelly was speaking at a media day as Five Star Events and 1st Star Events donated £10,000 to Glasgow Children's Hospital Charity from funds raised at their respective 2019 sporting events.'