Graeme Souness and Jim White clash in heated Rangers radio row as spiky host wails 'they’re unrecognisable'

Rangers legend Graeme Souness clashed with radio sidekick Jim White in a heated on air debate over the gulf between the Ibrox side and Scottish Premiership champions-elect Celtic.

Souness claimed the gap to the Hoops ISN’T that big as he absolved Philippe Clement of any blame after being in the job for just seven months. White, and later fellow talkSPORT show pundit Simon Jordan, tried to coax criticism out of the former Ibrox iron man manager and midfielder but he refused to go there.

Asked for his take on the 2-1 defeat at Parkhead which left Rangers trailing Brendan Rodgers’ champions by six points and six goals at the league summit with just two games to go, Souness: said: “It was disappointing. I felt they started… well they didn’t concede a goal after a couple of minutes this time! They weathered the early storm which you always get at Parkhead, settled down and Fabio Silva has the best chance of the first half, a header where he got inside the full back and only he knows how he put it wide from there.

“The sending off was a sending off in the modern game and it was a difficult game for them after that. He had a nanosecond and he thinks he’s favourite for it. The temptation was too great. I think he’s a good player and does a good job but you go to ground and you risk everything. Whoever you tackle will make a meal of it and that’s not being critical of the Celtic full back (Alistair Johnston).

“The last three Old Firm games… for me there’s not a lot between them. They drew 3-3 at Ibrox where they came back from the dead and they’ve lost two games 2-1 at Parkhead and they’ve gone down 10 men. I don’t believe there is a big difference between the two teams but ultimately you know at the start of each season you’re going to win the league or lose it by your Old Firm results.”

White then said: “There are those Graeme who say there’s a gulf…”

Souness said: “There’s a gulf. They’re ahead of Rangers. How do you expect me to answer this question? I’m trying to give you some facts to back up my thinking."

White: “You’re saying there’s not a lot between the two?”

Souness: “There’s not a lot between the two. For me, they have better strikers. I don’t see a gulf in the quality of football they play. They have better goal getters which ultimately does decide games. If we go and win the Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park then Rangers would have two out of the three trophies available, but of course the league is the most important.”

White: “And Celtic are on course for their 12th title in 13 season.”

Souness: “Yes, and that hurts. Of course that hurts. But the new manager has done a fabulous job. He’s been there for six, seven months. He’s signed three players - two on loan - and spent £4.3 million on (Mohamed) Diomande to change things.

"I’m hoping this window the club somehow finds the dosh to support him and he can get some of the players in that he knows and trusts and will make the difference in the league next season but I would not be critical of the manager or the players right now. He’s getting a tune out of those players. They slipped up badly at Ross County and Dundee and that’s why it all came down to Saturday’s game.”

White: “But he needed to get a tune out of them at Ross County and Dundee."

Souness: “You can ask me in any guise you want. I won’t be critical of the manager and he could still end up with two trophies. You want me to criticise them and I won’t.”

White: “I think Rangers fans have their heads in their hands at the moment even although there’s a cup final coming up. This is an unrecognisable Rangers.”

Souness: “I won’t be critical of them.”

The temperature rose further when Jordan interjected. He said: “Graeme contradicts himself. We had this debate recently about Rangers and Celtic and he said the results of the Old Firm games don’t determine the league.”

Souness: “You’re getting mixed up again – you weren’t listening. At my very first press conference (as Rangers manager) I was asked how much you have to win the Old Firm games and I said I didn’t care if we lost them all as long as we won the league and quickly realised it wasn’t the case.”

Jordan:Celtic will win the league by being the best of a bad bunch. They would struggle in the English Championship. I’ve been an admirer Philippe Clement but if the shoes was on the other foot and a new Celtic manager had the league in their hands and were done by Ross County and Dundee he would have something to say about the Celtic manager!”