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Sir Kenny Dalglish: Keeper question for Rangers boss Gio ahead of huge week for Old Firm

© SNS GroupIt’s the loneliness of the Rangers keeper as Jon McLaughlin reflects on his gaffe at Celtic’s fourth goal.
It’s the loneliness of the Rangers keeper as Jon McLaughlin reflects on his gaffe at Celtic’s fourth goal.

Celtic blew Rangers away yesterday. In the Premiership right now, the Hoops are a juggernaut.

Their 4-0 thrashing of the Light Blues was impressive. Ange Postecoglou’s team are both relentless and ruthless.

The comprehensive Old Firm win sets them up nicely for the visit of Real Madrid on Tuesday.

Rangers, however, were battered at Celtic Park, and this morning they will be hurting.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst now needs to pick his players up for the midweek trip to Amsterdam to face Ajax.

I suppose one consolation for the Ibrox club is that it’s unlikely the Dutch side will be as powerful or prolific as Celtic.

Giovanni will also now face calls about what he does with the goalkeeping situation.

Jon McLaughlin has been criticised for his display yesterday – in particular his role at Celtic’s fourth – and calls are already out there to bring back Allan McGregor.

It will be interesting to see what the Gers manager does on this one.

Yesterday’s game was always going to be challenging for both clubs, in different ways, but they will now be fully focused on their Champions League ties.

Facing Real Madrid will be a huge step up for Ange Postecoglou’s men, compared to what they are used to playing domestically.

The Spaniards are the Champions of Europe, and they have won this competition an incredible 14 times.

In Carlo Ancelotti, they have a manager who is as good as anyone out there. He has achieved unbelievable things in the game.

Real will travel with confidence, and will not be fazed in the slightest by playing at Parkhead.

Yet, for all the hurdles Ange and his players will face, I would not rule them out.

Having this as the opening fixture is, for me, a good thing. Remember, the unfancied Sheriff Tiraspol from Moldova beat Real 2-1 in round two of the fixtures last season.

That’s got to give Celtic a glimmer of hope, a ray of sunshine.

I also happen to think that the Scottish champions have some excellent players and, if they are on form, they will give themselves a great chance.

They need to play with a wee bit of caution but also be themselves and focus on what they do well every week.

I know it was a different time, a different manager and many different players. But they did lose heavily to PSG a few seasons ago by not being careful enough.

So, naturally, there will be a wee bit of apprehension for Celtic going into this one but this is not a lost cause. Indeed, if Real Madrid underestimate them in any shape or form, they will find themselves in trouble.

Remember, Celtic defeated Real 2-0 at home the last time the teams met competitively in 1980.

It would be nice if the scoreline was similar.

Rangers will be in action 24 hours later and, on paper, they have a fixture where they will not be as challenged as Celtic will be.

They defeated PSV 1-0 in Holland last month, and a repeat scoreline for Giovanni and his players would be first-class.

They have faced many challenging sets of circumstances in Europe in the past two or three years, and they have usually found a way.

Ajax have sold three or four of their top players, but they have also recruited well, bringing in Calvin Bassey from Rangers for around £20 million.

They will be dangerous on their own patch, and there will be pressure on them to win this game.

But there is plenty of experience in the Rangers ranks, and the manager will look to his usual core to see them through it.

James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Antonio Colak, Malik Tillman and Ryan Kent will be vital. I also think John Lundstram will play a huge role in this game. He really came of age last season, and was outstanding in many of the big games.

He looks totally relaxed in a Rangers jersey, and he will be hugely influential on the outcome of this game.

As I said, every player involved for Rangers and Celtic will need to be right on it.

It’s going to be really challenging for them over the next seven or eight weeks.

But it’s also going to be a brilliant watch.

It’s better to be there and lose, than not to be there at all.