The quality which makes Celtic 'more difficult' to play against than Rangers

Former Dundee manager James McPake has pinpointed the quality which makes Celtic a more difficult opponent than rivals Rangers.

The Glasgow giants are duking it out at the top of the Scottish Premiership with three points separating the sides and eight games remaining.

Celtic currently sit top and have the upper hand with two Old Firm matches left to play in the league – plus one in the Scottish Cup semi-final.

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Throughout the campaign there has been an element of to and fro with both having periods at the summit.

Celtic have scored 13 goals in three league games against Dundee. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)Celtic have scored 13 goals in three league games against Dundee. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Celtic have scored 13 goals in three league games against Dundee. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

McPake, during his time as Dundee manager, saw first hand the qualities of both teams.

The first was a 6-0 thrashing at Celtic Park but he was arguably more impressed with their performance in a 4-2 win at Dens Park.

"To differentiate both teams from managing against them, the first time we went to Celtic Park when Ange [Postecoglou] was just there, it hadn't quite clicked,” he told Go Radio.

"I don't remember that one very well but they were great that day and you could see something was building.

"The Rangers game under Steven Gerrard, we had to change and give them all the respect they were due.

"I believe we were very unlucky. Jason Cummings missed a penalty and we had double the shots on target of Rangers that day, but they won the game, so fine.

"The game when Celtic came to Dens, they killed us again. They scored the early goal, then they got another one, and they were relentless.

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"That's one thing I noticed about Celtic: they're very aggressive at the start of both halves, and they're ultra-aggressive once they get a goal.

"You've no chance when they do that. You think you've got a chance, then they come out again at the start of the second half.”

He added: "Giovanni van Bronckhorst, he changed it about and that day they cruised past us 3-0. They were very comfortable.”

Which team were more difficult opponents?

“If I was to pick one I wouldn't want to play against – the two of them would beat us – but Celtic have been the ones that we really struggled against."

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