Former Celtic captain Scott Brown claims the gap between the champions and Rangers remains significant on the park – and he has tipped his old club to get stronger and stronger after the winter break.
Celtic went into the mid-season interval eight points clear in the cinch Premiership, although Rangers have two games in hand.
Brendan Rodgers’ side earned a 2-1 triumph over their city rivals before closing the first part of the season with a convincing 3-0 win over St Mirren to make it four victories in a row.
The top-flight clubs resume their season in the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup in the third weekend of January, with Philippe Clement’s Rangers side looking to build on their Viaplay Cup success.
Brown, speaking at an event organised by cup sponsors Scottish Gas, said: “It gives Rangers that little bit of momentum, they know what silverware is like this season, and will obviously think they can go on and win the league and another cup.
“But Celtic have a strong squad and, as you saw when they played the other week, the gap was quite big, the way the Celtic front three pressed, the quality they have got, I think that’s the difference.
“When you play in big games at home, you are expected to win and put on a show and that’s what Celtic did.
“I thought they played exceptionally well, especially the first 75-80 minutes, they dominated, they were on the front foot, and they looked like the only team that was going to score.
“They have put themselves in a great position and now they are going to get stronger and stronger, and they will look fitter.
“Usually going from New Year to the end of the season, Celtic are very, very strong. I will be looking forward to seeing how they go forward in the ways Brendan wants them to go forward.
Reo Hatate and Liel Abada returned in the final games of the festive period after missing much of the season through injury, while Cameron Carter-Vickers is set to return from a hamstring problem this month.
And Brown believes Celtic will further benefit from more time on the training pitch under Rodgers.
“Especially when it goes Saturday to Saturday, you get a lot more rest and if the manager has new faces coming in he can work on the shape and structure of the team but also the way they want to be in and out of possession,” he said.
“He will be able to get his ideas and methods through to them a lot quicker than he would have done if they did have European football. The third game in a week is hard on anyone’s body.”
Celtic resume their season with a home tie against Highland League side Buckie Thistle on January 21.
“They will love it, coming to Celtic Park understanding what it’s like to play against the top team in Scotland,” Brown said.
“I’m sure some of them will be Celtic fans and I’m sure some of them will be Rangers fans as well.”
Scott Brown was speaking at a Scottish Gas media event. Scottish Gas is the proud partner of the Scottish Cup.
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