DEREK Ferguson has predicted the Scottish title race will be decided on the final day of the season for the first time in 12 years even if his former club Rangers beat Celtic at Ibrox on Sunday.

Philippe Clement’s team will move two points clear at the top of the cinch Premiership table if they defeat Brendan Rodgers’ side, who have played a game more than them, in Govan this weekend.

A victory over their city rivals – who they have not prevailed against in a meaningful league match since way back in August, 2021 – would put them in a commanding position with seven matches remaining.

However, former Rangers midfielder Ferguson, who helped his boyhood heroes to be crowned champions in 1987 and 1989, feels the Premiership will only be settled in the last game in May even if his old club triumph on Sunday.   

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“I’m just glad we have a title race because at the start of the season it didn’t look like there was going to be that,” he said. “It’s been remarkable. Rangers have done better than I anticipated. I thought the league had gone.

“I didn’t foresee this under Philippe Clement. I thought he’d have a hard enough job settling everything down. But to have a cup and to be a point behind with a game in hand is amazing. I don’t know how he’s got a tune out of the players with everything he’s had to contend with injury-wise.

The Herald: “The manager will want to get that monkey (not beating Celtic) off his back of course. But this is going to go right to the wire in my view. Of course Sunday’s game is massive, every Old Firm game is. But win, lose or draw I think this’ll go right to the end.

“I believe that. I don’t think it’ll just be about the two Old Firm games. I think Motherwell proved that when they went to Ibrox on won last month. There’ll be a few bumps in the road. But that’s what makes it so exciting.”

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Meanwhile, Ferguson has admitted he would like to see Clement smooth off a few rough edges in Cyriel Dessers’ game despite the Nigerian striker taking his tally for the 2023/24 campaign to 18 last Saturday with a goal in the win over Hibernian.  

“He’s frustrating,” he said. “When you’ve played with some quality strikers you know if they get space in the box it’s one and two-touch finishes. But he always wants to take that third and fourth. He blows a bit hot and cold.

“But he’s still got 13 goals in the Premiership. I think the manager has got in his head. If he’s been feeling the pressure he’s not shown it too much and that’s probably down to the manager.

“But I’m still not sure exactly what Dessers is. Is he a target man? Does he run the channels? He’s certainly not an out-and-out finisher. Sometimes he makes runs and you wonder where he’s going. He’s a bit of a mixed bag.

“He looks like somebody who needs to be coached when it should be natural in his game.”