Brendan warns Celts about ‘big spending’ Rangers
Celtic boss warns against any Old Firm complacency
BRENDAN RODGERS believes Rangers made a huge statement of intent by outspending Celtic in the summer.
The Hoops boss claims the investment reveals a determination to wrest their rivals Premiership crown away.
And, in the process, bring to a halt a winning streak that currently stands at six titles-in-a-row.
Rodgers spoke out ahead of Saturday’s Old Firm derby at Ibrox.
“They have clearly spent money in the summer. They spent more money than us – and we are a Champions League club.
“So that tells you that their idea is to win the league. It’s not to finish third. Not to finish second above Aberdeen. It is to win the league.”
BRENDAN RODGERS will warn his Celtic players not to take Rangers lightly in Saturday’s Old Firm clash.
The Hoops won five of the six derbies last season across league and cup, including a historic victory at Ibrox, venue for the weekend’s renewal, where they hit five goals for the first time ever.
It took Graeme Murty, then the Light Blues interim boss, to prevent a 100% record when leading the Gers to a 1-1 draw at Celtic Park in March.
However, as Rodgers points out, much has changed with the summer bringing a flurry of new arrivals to Ibrox.
“I’ve seen a little bit of them,” said the Celtic manager.
“Pedro obviously came in during the season and was able to assess and look at different methods in which they can try to work and play.
“They have clearly spent money in the summer.
“They spent more money than us – and we are a Champions League club.
“So that tells you that their idea is to win the league. It’s not to finish third. Not to finish second above Aberdeen. It is to win the league.
“They have come into the season with that mentality. They have signed some good players and are playing a basic shape in terms of 4-4-2, nothing complicated, get the ball wide and get crosses into the box.
“I’m sure they will be reasonably happy with how they have started.”
That respect doesn’t stop the Northern Irishman from hoping he will be able to look up, as he did in the 5-1 win, and once again be treated to the sight of Ibrox’s stands emptying despite plenty of time remaining.
“When you see that for every manager and player, it is feeling that you are working well. You are doing your job if the game is over by 65, 70 minutes.
“In a 90-minute game you can take huge credit for how you are playing at that stage. I remember back when I was with Liverpool, it was similar when we beat Newcastle away 6-0.
“We were 4-0 up after an hour, scored our fifth and then the sixth in the next few minutes.
“It’s a big stadium at Newcastle, so to see that happen you’re thinking: ‘OK, we’ve probably won the game’.
“If you are going to Ibrox, and doing that against one of the great rivals, and performing at that level, which was key for me, was pretty special.
“You know the significance of the game and the intensity and feeling around them is great.
“And then, of course, if you can go and perform and win then it’s special.”
Celtic aim to be celebrating at Ibrox on Saturday, but Brendan Rodgers has warned his players to take nothing for granted.
Mikael Lustig and Scott Brown celebrate at an emptying Ibrox back in April.