St.Johnstone manager Tommy Wright has rubbished talk of Rangers being title challengers unless they can beat Celtic to end their winless run against the Scottish champions.
The Northern Irishman expects Celtic to make it eight titles in a row unless Rangers can stop the Parkhead side’s dominance in the tie.
Wright said: “I’d rather look positively and say standards have improved in the Premiership this season. Better players have come into the league, without a doubt. I’ve got to say Celtic, on the back of what they’ve achieved in recent years, will still be favourites.
“The acid test in terms of the title race will be the Old Firm game – psychologically, Rangers have to get over that hurdle.
“I know there has been an occasion in the past when one half of the Old Firm have won the title while being in a points deficit in games against the other but psychologically, for Rangers to be a real force, they need to win in the league over Celtic.
“I hope there will still be seven or eight clubs challenging in the latter stages of the season. One thing is for sure, there will be three or four clubs up there all the way through.”
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard claimed back in August that he could lose every derby game and still win the league.
He claimed: “I haven’t thought about the Old Firm. I can honestly say to you, I am not obsessed about Celtic. I don’t know how many times I need to say it.
“I am obsessed with being successful as the Rangers manager. I could lose every Old Firm game I go into — and still win the league.”
The first derby of the game back in September ended 1-0 to Celtic with the scoreline flattering as Brendan Rodgers’ side dominated the game, striking the woodwork four times and keeper Allan McGregor coming up with some quality saves to keep the scoreline down.
Celtic under Brendan Rodgers are undefeated in 12 games against Rangers, winning ten and drawing twice – they are currently top of the league a point ahead of Rangers with a game in hand.