Rangers have momentum and are real title challengers, says former Celtic striker Charlie Nicholas
'Brendan Rodgers looks unhappy and Celtic are predictable'
Last Updated: 26/09/18 6:04am
Charlie Nicholas admits Rangers' "momentum" has him worried - and believes Steven Gerrard's side are serious title contenders this season.
The champions slumped to their worst start to a Scottish Premiership season in 20 years, after three wins and a draw in their opening six league games following their 2-1 defeat to Kilmarnock on Sunday.
Rivals Rangers, meanwhile, thrashed St Johnstone to move second and a concerned Nicholas thinks the Ibrox side are gelling ominously as they harbour hopes of a first title since 2011.
"I've said since day one there's a genuine title challenge there," the Soccer Saturday pundit and former Celtic striker said. "Hearts are sitting at the top and Hibernian are floating with Rangers, so the danger signs are there for Celtic.
"Rangers last season may have won that game against St Johnstone 1-0 or 2-0; now they are going to Europe, getting results, thrashing teams domestically and momentum is growing.
"They are a giant club and now they've got an iconic manager. There's no doubt Gerrard has improved the quality - now they are starting to gel and starting to believe.
"Rangers lost seven league games at home last season - that will not happen this season. They will have a much better record, which means they will close the gap on Celtic.
"Celtic are playing poorly, Rangers have momentum. For the neutrals, it absolutely makes things interesting but as a Celtic man I am concerned - seriously concerned."
Brendan Rodgers has started with just one striker - either Leigh Griffiths or Odsonne Edouard - in five of Celtic's first six games in the league but Nicholas believes it is time for a change of system as they seek an upturn.
"I like his philosophy, the football he plays, which is exciting, and I have been very pleased with his success but the honest truth is Brendan looks as if he is very unhappy with the club - not just the team, but the club - and a lot of players are just not playing well.
"He's playing one upfront whereas I think he should play two, with Griffiths and Edouard. You don't spend £9m on Edouard, who only started 10 league games last season. And the best finisher at the club is Griffiths by a distance.
"Celtic dominate possession in domestic football - 70-75 per cent some weeks - but have scored six Premiership goals this season with one striker up front. I think the evidence is there.
"Of course, there are weaknesses defensively but if you play with two up front you become unpredictable and Celtic under Brendan at the moment have been predictable. They are not playing well, have lost a bit of belief, and of course people in Glasgow are getting worried about Rangers now.
"Celtic have to take care of their own situation and I think it's solvable - play Griffiths and Eduoard up front and Celtic will start scoring goals again."