GORDON SMITH reckons Celtic could be psychologically drained after their failure to land 10-in-a-row last season. 

The Parkhead outfit made it all the way to nine before Rangers put a halt to the dominant run, as they registered their 55th title in their history. 

In similar fashion, Smith was part of John Greig’s Rangers side who agonisingly missed out on a second consecutive treble at the end of the 1978/79 season. 

The Govan outfit were pipped to top spot in the league on the final day of the season and they then went without a title for eight years after that.

Smith thinks Celtic could now face a similar dry patch, unless Ange Postecoglou can work wonders after taking over the Parkhead reins this summer.

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He explained: “There is every chance it has the same effect on Celtic. That was John Greig’s first season and he stayed for a few seasons after that.  

“Celtic in this case, even though they have been successful, they have made changes. They have brought in the new manager and every managerial appointment is a risk. 

“It will be interesting to see how he does. The guy has to be given some time. It is not a case of just because he has taken over now, he has to turn things around and win the league this year. 

“He has to show the fans what he is like in terms of his management, the players he brings in and the style of football he plays. That is what he has to prove in the short term with a view to, quite soon, Celtic challenging for the league title again. 

“Last season was dreadful considering where they were before then.” 

Despite Smith’s worries over the state of Celtic going into the new season, the former Ibrox defender has urged his former club to not become complacent, despite their recent successes. 

He continued: “One of the things Steven Gerrard can use to get round that is, given the season they had, they probably should have been treble winners. They only won the league and they didn’t do well in the cups. 

“They have other things to aim for and one of those would be to actually win other competitions too. St Johnstone did fantastically well to win two trophies and Rangers did well to get the league title. 

“They will have been disappointed they weren’t challenging for either of the cups. At the beginning of last season I actually wondered whether Rangers could even put a challenge in for the league. 

“Celtic were so dominant. Nine in a row, four trebles. I was thinking can Rangers challenge the league at all? It wasn’t what I expected at all. It was a lot easier than a lot of people imagined.” 

The Champions League will also be another key motivator for Rangers and Smith believes Steven Gerrard has the capabilities to guide the Govan outfit to the knockout stages of the competition. 

He added: “I think the Champions League will be very important. That will also be a motivational element after winning the league. To get into the group stages and they will be looking to qualify from that as well into the knockout rounds. 

“Steven Gerrard has done very well in Europe. There is no question that Rangers have performed well in European competition in recent seasons. This is a step up playing in the Champions League, but I don’t think there is a huge gulf between the Europa League. 

“There will be a good chance that they can qualify from their group if they can get there. Everyone will look forward to seeing the big teams play at Ibrox again. 

“If Rangers can get to the group stages there will be some big teams right away. In recent seasons Barcelona and Real Madrid haven’t actually done that well. Bayern Munich and PSG are probably the big teams at the moment. 

“The English teams too will always be up there challenging. If you get a Manchester City or Liverpool at Ibrox they will be great games.” 

‘Going for 55’ is available now, priced at £17.99, and includes contributions from Dave King,

Paul Murray, John Gilligan, Ally McCoist and many others to tell the story of Rangers’ rise from the Third Division to become Premiership champions in season 2020/21.

For more information visit: www.polarispublishing.com.