Rangers hero shares derby hunch Celtic fans won't like but Parkhead legend reads him writing on the wall

Emotions ran high at Ibrox after the game ended
Emotions ran high at Ibrox after the game ended -Credit:SNS Group

Billy Dodds believes Saturday's critical derby clash won't be as straightforward for Celtic "as some people think".

But rival Paul Lambert simply can't see past his old team getting the result they want and seeing out the title race. It's been a Premiership tussle full of twists and turns and a few weeks ago it looked like Rangers were in command after an impressive start by Philippe Clement. But major stumbles against Ross County and Dundee have let Brendan Rodgers' team open up a three-point gap - which Rangers must now bridge at Parkhead on Saturday, otherwise they are relying on major favours from elsewhere in the final two games.

Last time the sides faced it was a corker, with Rangers battling back from 2-0 down to claim a thrilling 3-3 draw at Ibrox. But Dodds thinks if they change their approach from that game, they might have a chance at Celtic Park. In a Sky Sports feature alongside Lambert, he said: "The last Old Firm game, the 3-3, a lot of Rangers fans were shouting 'go after them.' I'm thinking 'don't,' because I don't think Rangers' back-line was mobile enough to handle the pace. Then right from the first minute, Maeda scores. So that's probably not the way to go about it.

"It will suit Rangers going to Parkhead, maybe being a bit deeper. Trying to counter them. Rangers have lost Sima and Matondo, you need pace to counter, I would have gone with pace, so I'm not sure who you put in the wide areas if they're not fit. They need to not leave as much space in behind. If Rangers try and go after them high up, you would think Celtic would be the favourites, where they are mentally and getting all their players back."

Lambert reckons the lack of away fans will have an impact again as he replied: "There's no Rangers fans as well. When you play in this kind of atmosphere, especially when you've got the whole stadium on your shoulders, they'll expect you to win. That's why the crowd is so important for Celtic.

"Celtic were good on Saturday (against Hearts), the speed the ball was moving at. There's always a point in the season where you need to step it up and Celtic have the bit between their teeth. It's an Old Firm game, anything can happen with it, but I just think at this moment, Celtic are the favourites, Just because it's here."

Paul Lambert speaks with Billy Dodds -Credit:Sky Sports
Paul Lambert speaks with Billy Dodds -Credit:Sky Sports

But Dodds retorted: "Favourites at home, favourites for where they are mentally, how they're going about it, getting their players back. But it doesn't always mean you're going to win it. It's still a brilliant opportunity for Rangers. I know they've let it slip with the Ross County and Dundee games, but there's a chance where it's all-in now. Go and win at Parkhead, it's the last throw of the dice."

Lambert feels that even if Rangers do lose this weekend, it's not the result they can pin the end of their title hopes on. He added: "If Rangers lose at Parkhead on Saturday, this is not the game that's lost them the title. It's Ross County and Dundee. Rangers had it then they gave the impetus back to Celtic, and I don't think Celtic will give them it back again."

But Dodds said: "I've got a feeling though, it won't be as straightforward as some people might think..."