Former Celtic defender Alan Stubbs believes Rangers need to use the next two years to build a team to prevent the Hoops reaching 10-in-a-row.
Brendan Rodgers’ side are fresh from a 4-0 William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final thrashing of their Old Firm rivals on Sunday and need one more win to clinch their seventh successive Ladbrokes Premiership title.
Stubbs was in the Parkhead side which became part of Celtic folklore for preventing Rangers getting to 10 in 1998.
Consequently, he knows the pressure building on the Ibrox club, which is reeling from the semi-final fall-out where club captain Lee Wallace and veteran striker Kenny Miller were suspended amid claims they undermined boss Graeme Murty in the dressing room afterwards.
Speaking at Ayr racecourse ahead of the Coral Scottish Grand National, Stubbs said:
“If you are gauging it by now, there is a very good chance that it is going to get to that (10).
“But the one thing that Rangers have got as a bonus, is that they have two years now to try to establish a team that is going to put together a challenge for that season.
“In the same way we did when Rangers got nine and in the 10th season we were able to put a challenge up that was able to prevent Rangers from getting 10.
“If they make the right signings it is possible but going by what has happened over the last few years, it is looking unlikely.
“From a Rangers point of view, Sunday was a very abject performance.
“When you take a step back, I don’t think the gap has closed at all.
“Celtic are still considerably away ahead.”
Celtic can clinch the title against Hibernian at Easter Road on Saturday and if they fail to do that, it could roll on to the following week when they host Rangers.
Former Hibs boss Stubbs believes Rodgers’ side will be as professional as always, saying: “Whenever there is a big game, they perform and get the job done. They will be wanting to get the job done on Saturday.”
However, he believes the Hoops players would not be unduly perturbed if they ended up with the chance to seal it against their old rivals.
He said: “I don’t think they would lose any sleep about it.
“If it doesn’t happen at the weekend, then it just makes them more determined to do it the following weekend.
“What is certain is that is a matter of when. The league is done.
“What Brendan will be mindful of is that they don’t down tools now and coast along until the Scottish Cup final and then expect a performance.
“They will want a consistency to carry on and momentum to build into the final.”