Gordon Strachan believes Brendan Rodgers has the necessary experience and knowledge to come through “a real test of his management” and get faltering Celtic back on course for the cinch Premiership title.
The Hoops have been heavily criticised after losing back-to-back league games for the first time in a decade, with a 2-1 defeat at Kilmarnock followed by Saturday’s 2-0 loss at home to Hearts.
Rodgers enjoyed relatively smooth runs to title glory during his first spell in charge of Celtic as Rangers were not equipped to mount a sustained challenge.
However, the Bhoys’ recent dip has opened the door for the resurgent Ibrox side under Philippe Clement to believe they can now overhaul their city rivals.
Former Celtic manager Strachan expects Rodgers to draw on memories of the adversity he faced at previous clubs Liverpool and Leicester as he attempts to fend off the threat of Rangers and get supporters back onside.
“The thing about Brendan is, he knew what was coming because he knew about the stress of managing Celtic,” Strachan told BoyleSports, who offer the latest Old Firm Odds.
“However, he wouldn’t have known what it was like to lose at Celtic because he wasn’t used to that in his first spell, apart from maybe in Europe.
“It’s not easy going back somewhere, I’ve not done it before myself, so this is a real test of his management.
“But he has experienced tough times with Liverpool and Leicester before so it gives you experience and knowledge to deal with moments just like this. There is no secret and no shortcut to dealing with tough times as a manager sadly.
“The only thing that matters to Celtic or Rangers is just being better than the other. It doesn’t matter about the style of play, the formation, the players or anything like that – you simply have to be better than the other and winning games of football.”
Celtic host Rangers in a potentially pivotal match on December 30 but there will be no away supporters in attendance amid ongoing politics between the two sides who have chopped allocations on a tit-for-tat basis since the Ibrox side first opted to do so in 2018.
Strachan feels the fixture – regularly marred by sectarianism – will potentially be less toxic with only one set of supporters.
“It is going to be noisy, aggressive and nasty,” he said. “Anyone who hasn’t been already, you need to go and see it.
“It is exhilarating at times but sad at times when you listen to the songs. There are no away supporters this time, which some people think is a bad thing but I actually think it is a positive.
“We don’t need to give a platform sometimes for the people and we need that nonsense out of the game.”
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