He’s a man that knows a thing about title challenges, but John Hartson is baffled by what has happened to Rangers.
If they had kept up that form and desire, the Welshman feels that they could have been the ones running away with the league right now, but a string of draws and losses since then has left them trailing their rivals by a hefty ten points.
Now, with the two teams meeting up again on Sunday for what promises to be a crucial game no matter the result, Hartson feels that the Rangers players have let down Steven Gerrard and all but guaranteed Celtic achieving eight-in-a-row.
He said: “Rangers got carried away by that result. If you look at the results since that win at Ibrox, I don’t know if they took their eye off the ball.
“I don’t know if they put so much into that game and got the result, then went away on the winter break and felt they had Celtic’s number.
“You have to ask, where’s it gone?
“It was a wonderful performance. Celtic were second best and Rangers won fair and square.
“But is that enough? Just turn up and beat Celtic in one Old Firm game? Does that make you happy?
“If it does, then you have a problem because Rangers should have kicked on from there.
“They haven’t, while Celtic have. That’s why they are ten points clear.
“If Rangers had played like they did that day against Celtic, they could have been the team ten points clear.
“But they have dropped points all over the place.
“Steven Gerrard must wonder what happened. Something’s gone wrong.
“They were almost challenging after that win, but they have fallen back and gone out of the Scottish Cup too.
“I said Celtic would win the league by 15 points and it looks like they are on track to do that.”
Celtic, while not in their most stellar of form at times, have been the more consistent and have opened up a sizeable gap of ten points, which they can increase to 13 if they win at Celtic Park on Sunday.
If that proves to be the case, Hartson can’t see any way back for Gerrard’s men.
He said: “Rangers played very well in that game at Ibrox. But I’ve always said you could lose all four Old Firm games and still win the league. It’s about what you do in the other games.
“Alfredo Morelos has let Gerrard down by failing to stay on the pitch at times.
“They brought in a big signing in Jermain Defoe, but it just confused the situation. It left Gerrard wondering who to play. Does he drop Morelos or leave Defoe out? Does he play Defoe or leave Morelos out?
“Steve Davis has come in, but he hasn’t kicked a ball so far.
“It’s about going to places like Dundee and Kilmarnock and winning.
“It’s about getting three points at home when you are not performing particularly well.
“It’s the last-minute winners and having the character and spirit to go to the 93rd minute.
“Celtic have not been at their best this season, but they have dug in and it’s the ugly games that win you titles.
“They have got to ten points and if it goes to 13 it would be a travesty if they didn’t go on to complete eight in a row.”
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