IN the green corner is the club where Kenny Dalglish launched his glittering career, and where he is still held in the highest regard as one of Celtic’s all-time legends. There is also a man in the dugout in Neil Lennon for whom ‘The King’ has the utmost respect.

In the blue corner, there is a man he holds in similar esteem as a fellow Liverpool legend, and a friend, in Steven Gerrard.

There is no doubt however where the loyalties of the man considered by many as the greatest player this country has ever produced lie, with Dalglish firmly backing his former club in their quest for 10 in-a-row.

But just because he may want Celtic to beat Rangers to the title yet again this season doesn’t mean that Dalglish isn’t admiring the job that his fellow Anfield icon Gerrard is currently doing at Ibrox.

“I don’t have any difficulty!” Dalglish said.

“Steven doesn’t have any difficulty and I’m sure Lenny doesn’t have any problems either. You could also say ‘you canny lose.’

“I think [Steven]’s been fantastic. He started at the Academy at Liverpool and did a good job there with the kids.

“You can imagine the thrill the kids got when Steven Gerrard was coaching them during the week then standing on the sidelines watching them on a Saturday. What a lift it must have gave them.

“But when that wears off it’s about his coaching and results, which were excellent.

“It was a fantastic decision by whoever made the decision at Rangers to go and get Steven. It was great for Steven to get the chance to flex his muscles at a really big club, knowing he was up against it. And he’s done fantastically well.

“Since Steven has gone in they’ve got better and better every year. One year he’s going to go the whole hog and win something. So for me it was an inspired appointment. He’s reacted fantastically well to it.

“They lost the League Cup final last year at Hampden when Christopher Jullien scored. Rangers missed a penalty that day, were the better team and could have won. But they never threw the towel in after that.

“They kept going and going and for me Steven has done a fantastic job. And I think you have to applaud the people at Rangers for supporting him financially with their money.

“I’m sure the supporters are now desperate to get back into Ibrox to watch a game live and in person. Because they have done really well this season so far.”

The perception of Celtic’s season to date is quite the opposite in some quarters, but Dalglish is hoping that consideration is given to the mitigating factors which have – in his opinion – tied one of Lennon’s hands behind his back.

“For me, there will be concern,” he said. “But there’s concern when you lose the toss of the coin at Celtic.

“That’s the level they play at and that’s what they are up against. But I don’t think that concern will lead to any drastic measures and Lenny will be there for a long time.

“The 10 is hugely important to a lot of people, but winning games is hugely important as well, and you’re not going to win anything if you’re not winning games.

“They lost the Old Firm game last year at the turn of the year and they caught it up, and they’ve done the same this year. What reasons are there to say that Celtic can’t improve to get back alongside Rangers again?

“At the end of the day, Rangers have improved. Steven has done a fantastic job there. He’s got them a lot better than what they were since he came in, but Celtic are still formidable.

“It will be interesting to see when Rangers pick up a few injuries how their results go as well.

“He’s got a stronger squad this year Steven than he had last year, but if you get your best players knocked out, then you’re going to have a problem getting results as well.

“So, it’s not an even playing field. Results are what keeps you your job and get you trophies, but injuries are part and parcel of football. It’s how you replace the injured players.

“So far, the ones that have come in haven’t done well enough.”

Perhaps the biggest offender in that regard has been Shane Duffy, the marquee signing of the summer who was supposed to stiffen the Celtic defence with his famed ‘no-nonsense’ approach. The on-loan Brighton man has so far failed to live up to his billing, and Dalglish says that perhaps Scottish football has proven tougher than the many who scoffed at him for making the move north predicted.

“Everybody thought he was a world-beater in his first game when he scored at Ross County with a header, and he is a great asset at set-plays,” he said.

“Maybe his form hasn’t been as good as what some people would have expected, but then again, maybe the Scottish Premiership is a bit better than what everybody has judged it to be.

“He played 200-odd games for Brighton and mostly in a back five or three centre-backs.

“He started that way here, but in the second half against AC Milan and against Aberdeen he went with a back four.

“Maybe he’s not used to playing in a back four, but he’s still the best choice Lenny’s got at this moment in time because the other boys are injured.

“Even if [Neil] did consider taking him out of the firing line, who is he going to put in? Who you have got available is the most important thing.”

*Kenny Dalglish was speaking to promote Premier Sports coverage of the Scottish Cup Semi-Final match Celtic v Aberdeen live and exclusive from 2pm on Sunday. Premier Sports is available on Sky, Virgin TV and the Premier Player. Prices start from £9.99 per month.