It would have been inconceivable then but it’s now nine years since any team playing out of Ibrox won significant silverware, and Donnelly reckons that barren run could continue for some time yet, claiming that Steven Gerrard’s Rangers will be unable to fulfil their supporters’ hopes of halting Celtic’s pursuit of 10 in a row next season.
They may have confounded the bookmakers by progressing further in the Europa League than their city rivals, but Donnelly argues that they cannot match the depth of quality or mental strength of the champions.
“Every time Rangers have had a wee bit of success recently, you see the reaction of everybody connected with them,” he said. “They’re craving success because Celtic have had so much of it. For the last two years, they have got to the turn of the year close and then, for whatever reason, have fallen away again. Is it what it takes to get over the line? I don’t know. Celtic just seem to come up with the answer, year after year.
“Are Rangers struggling to cope with the pressure? I think so, although I was surprised by how well they did in the two Celtic games [in December]. The pressure is going to be even more intense next season.
“I thought at the turn of the year, when Rangers beat Celtic, that this could go neck and neck all the way, which would have been a new experience for Celtic.
“For me, right now – although it sounds simplistic – Celtic just have better players. They also have the finances so, if they want to spend again this summer, they can.”
He added: “The longer this goes on for Rangers, the more pressure there will be because Celtic seem to be getting stronger season after season.”
Simon Donnelly was speaking at a William Hill media event. William Hill is the proud sponsor of the Scottish Cup.