Ryan Kent: ‘Rangers have got in Celtic’s heads by bossing Old Firm games’

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With Celtic having already secured an eighth successive championship, the outcome of their final meeting with Rangers at Ibrox on Sunday will have no bearing on how this campaign pans out.

However, according to Rangers winger Ryan Kent, a victory for the hosts could have a significant impact on events next season.

Rangers' Ryan Kent with his young player award. Picture: Jeff Holmes

Rangers' Ryan Kent with his young player award. Picture: Jeff Holmes

The 22-year-old, who won PFA Scotland’s Young Player of the Year award last weekend, claims that he and his team-mates have largely dominated the last two derbies (a 1-0 home win at Ibrox on 20 December and a 2-1 defeat at Parkhead on 31 March) and he believes that coming out on top again will give Rangers the psychological edge going into 2019-20.

Whatever the final result may be though, Kent, pictured, argues that Celtic’s players are already worrying about Steven Gerrard’s team and another victory may not be required to make their rivals begin to doubt themselves.

“I think we’ve probably done that already when we beat them in the first game at Ibrox, the first league win over them since 2012,” said the 22-year-old. “The style with which we went about it that day was important, too, because we totally dominated them for the whole game.

“Then, at Parkhead [a 2-1 defeat on 31 March], we were under the cosh in the first half due to going a man down but in the second half we were the much better team with only ten men and we were unfortunate to concede a late goal that day.

“I think everyone is aware of Rangers’ capabilities and what we can do. It would be nice to sign off with another goal against Celtic – to be honest, I’d like to have scored a few more goals than I have done this season, even though I’ve already scored more than in any other season. I’ll keep trying to improve that side of my game.

“Every game we’ve played this season we’ve tried to be dominant but it’s particularly important for us to take the three points this weekend because it’ll show the intent that Rangers have for next 
season.

“Liverpool may be going for the title and the Champions League but Rangers has been my only focus. I’ve given them 100 per cent of my concentration and I haven’t looked too far forward or thought about where I might be next season and I think that helped me to win the award.”

Kent scored in that defeat at Celtic Park and would love to repeat that feat at Ibtox.

“It would be good to finish on a high against them,” he added. “We’ve had a good season, albeit without winning silverware but getting a result against the league winners this weekend would top it off for us.”