By Pranav Shahaney

22nd Aug, 2021 | 9:24pm

Derek McInnes: Rangers are team to beat but Celtic have narrowed gap

Derek McInnes predicts Rangers will start the Old Firm derby against Celtic next weekend as the favourites.

Although, he has said that Celtic’s recent run of form coupled with Rangers’ exit in the Champions League may have narrowed the club between the two fierce Glasgow rivals.

He expects it to be a quality encounter with both sides prioritising playing a possession-centric brand of football.

In his column in The Scottish Mail on Sunday (22 Aug 2021, pg. 156), the BBC pundit wrote, “Ahead of the first Old Firm game of the season next Sunday, I still think Rangers are clearly the team to beat. It’s their title and they’ll work hard to win it again.

“In Glasgow how quickly the perception can change. Celtic have allowed themselves to come closer to Rangers from where they were three weeks ago.

“Next week’s match will be quite intriguing because they are both teams who are possession-based and will have a lot of quality players on show.”

Got to win this

Form goes out of the window in derby games and we’ve got to do everything we can to pick up three points from this one.

Wins against Celtic have historically gone on to have long-term effects and on occasion, have kick-started our campaigns.

It helps change the mood in the dressing room and gives the fans bragging rights and extra enthusiasm for weeks to come, which will be pivotal now that crowds are back into stadiums.

As things stand, we’re level on points with Celtic, but their superior goal difference puts them a spot ahead of us.

All that will change once we win next weekend and Steven Gerrard will surely be looking forward to that game and will ask the boys to train doubly as hard to get the desired result.

In other Rangers news, ‘Selfless’ – Barry Ferguson thrilled by Rangers player who made headlines this week