Scottish Football podcast: Rangers in control of players, but Celtic need huge influx to compete

The Scottish Premiership season kicks off on Saturday with champions Rangers at Livingston at 1.30pm, while Celtic travel to Hearts at 8pm, both live on Sky Sports

Steven Gerrard Rangers Ange Postecoglou Celtic

Rangers are well set up to fight on all fronts again this season, while Celtic still need a massive influx of players, according to the Scottish Football podcast panel.

The Scottish Premiership season kicks off on Saturday with champions Rangers at Livingston at 1.30pm, while Celtic travel to Hearts at 8pm, both live on Sky Sports.

In the latest Scottish Football podcast, Kris Boyd and James McFadden join Gordon Duncan to preview the new campaign, looking at all 12 clubs.

Transfers are also on the agenda too with the futures of Alfredo Morelos, Odsonne Edouard, Jamie McGrath, Lewis Ferguson, and others debated plus lots more...

'Rangers strengthening XI, not just squad'

Rangers won the Scottish Premiership for the first time in 10 years last season
Image: Rangers won the Scottish Premiership for the first time in 10 years last season

Kris Boyd on the Scottish Football Podcast:

"It is different going in as a champion. When you go in as champions, there's more emphasis on you to prove why you're champions.

"I think Rangers are going to have to lift it again this year. Yes, Celtic were in a lot of trouble last year, and it doesn't look like it has been rectified this year so far, but you'd think over the next few weeks, they will get players in that will at least give Rangers a challenge this season.

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"Europe will be a priority for Rangers this season, too, and you want to defend the title.

"You could argue Rangers are where Celtic were a few years ago in terms of being in total control of their players. The nucleus of the squad is tied down to contracts. The signings are strengthening the first XI, not just the squad."


'Rangers have the power over players now'

John Lundstram made his Rangers debut at Prenton Park following his arrival in midweek
Image: John Lundstram is one of Steven Gerrard's signings this summer

James McFadden on the Scottish Football Podcast

"I think it's crucial that when you're on top, you strengthen. I don't think you can just pad out the squad. When Steven Gerrard initially came in, I think he signed a lot of quite similar types of players, at a similar level. I don't think they were the right players to get Rangers where they wanted to be, but it had to be done.

"Now it's a different challenge for them because he has to bring in players that will challenge the guys, to take their spots, to take their jersey.

"John Lundstram comes into a really strong area of the team in midfield, but I think he will add to it. He is a brilliant signing.

"And Fashion Sakala; we don't know what we're going to get, he does look exciting, but he is going to have to put a challenge in to get into that XI."

"I think the business they've done so far is good, and I wouldn't be surprised if there is more.

"The planning Rangers put in place, they're always looking ahead. They don't want to stand still."

'Morelos future not as important as it once was'

Alfredo Morelos celebrates after equalising against Celtic on Sunday
Image: Is the time right for Alfredo Morelos to leave Rangers?

James McFadden on the Scottish Football Podcast

"For me, they've got it right so far. It will just be about deciding who they let go of. Last season, it was: 'Can they keep a hold of Ryan Kent, can they keep a hold of Alfredo Morelos?'

"I think they have more power now to say: 'You will leave if we decide.' I think they are even stronger this season. I think their squad is really strong, and well set to fight on all fronts.

"Last year the perception was that Rangers needed to keep Morelos to stop Celtic winning 10 in a row. But right now, I think Rangers could decide they could move him on, bring someone in, and it wouldn't impact them as much as it would have last season.

"I'm not saying his time is up, but maybe it's the right time for him to go."

Huge amount of work to be done at Celtic

Celtic's Stephen Welsh is consoled by Ange Postecoglou
Image: Ange Postecoglou has a big job on his hands at Celtic

James McFadden on the Scottish Football Podcast

"There is a huge amount of work to be done at Celtic, all over the pitch. You've got guys like Odsonne Edouard, who we know is a top-class player, and actually I feel for him, because he's isolated. He needs help. I think he will actually move on.

"They are in a worse state than I thought they could have been. This time last year, if you'd told me Celtic would lose the league by 25 points, and would be playing three players that had played less than 50 games combined for Celtic in a Champions League qualifier, you'd say no chance. But that's where they are at the minimum.

"There's a lot of work to be done. I think the manager has dealt with everything really well, but he got an introduction to the Scottish media on Wednesday night.


"We know they're having problems bringing in players from abroad with the quarantine and things like that,

"You can watch as many videos as you want, but we don't know what Kyogo Furuhashi is going to be like until we see him, and the same with Carl Starfelt.

"There's a huge amount of players that need to come in to help the players that are there. Scott Brown is away, your natural leader gone. He's been a huge part of the club. Are they going to replace him? I don't think you can replace that type of character, but you have to try and bring someone in with a similar ilk to be a leader on and off the pitch.

"They need a goalkeeper, they've needed a right-back since Lustig's last season. They need a left-back, they need a centre-back, they need a midfielder, they need wide men and they need strikers! So they need quite a lot."

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