Watching Celtic title celebrations is TORTURE and Rangers must let pain sink in to wreck the party - Barry Ferguson

There was no shortage of options to feed my football fix on Wednesday night but the TV was only set for one game - Celtic at Kilmarnock. No matter how painful, how torturous I knew it was going to be.

And believe me the last day has been excruciating for everyone connected to Rangers after Celtic secured the title. But you know what? I made myself sit through it all. I took in every minute of the game AND the celebrations.

With a clenched jaw and furrowed brow I sat and watched the Celtic players dancing, singing and celebrating with their fans - and refused to turn off. Why? Because this has to be the driving force now. If I was still pulling on a Rangers top then those scenes would be the motivation for me to do everything in my power to stop Celtic at the next possible opportunity.

And that just so happens to be the Scottish Cup Final in eight days’ time. Brilliant. What a chance to have the last say on the season and be the ultimate party poopers. Okay it’s not the big one that everyone wanted, the league title. But I’ll tell you what - the Scottish Cup is a huge honour and the last Old Firm Final back in 2002 is probably the best game I have ever been involved in.

People dub it the Lovenkrands Final because Peter scored the last minute winner… but I prefer to remember it for my exquisite free kick! Seriously though, what an occasion, what a game and what a win. Both teams had fantastic players but our Rangers side.. wow. The characters in that team were huge.

From Stefan Klos in goals right through the side it was dripping with winners. Players you knew when you were in the trenches they would join you and when it came to the nitty gritty they would come through for you. Back in the here and now there are questions being asked whether this Rangers squad has enough characters.

What do I think? I will tell you after 5pm next Saturday. People asking if there’s a mentality problem in the dressing room at Ibrox would hurt me deeply if I was still involved. The great thing about football is there’s always another opportunity to answer the critics. Rangers will have half of Hampden behind them for the showpiece finale of the Scottish season. There will be millions more watching on TV across the world.

What a time to answer the critics. To shut people up. Listen, Wednesday night was the best I’ve seen Celtic. The way they moved the ball, how quickly they got about the pitch and the way they took their chances.

Is that a concern ahead of the final? You can look at it two ways. One - yes it’s a worry. Or two - we need to be at the top of our game and what an added motivation to beat them at their best.

Do that at Hampden and you will feel 10 foot tall. I promise you. I’ve been there. It’s an incredible feeling. Rangers desperately need a pick me up after what’s been a real tough month.

I suffered the same at points in my career. I lost leagues that I felt should have been won. And there’s no doubt this is one that Rangers will feel slipped away from them. It’ll nag for a long time.

You only have to look back at the four days where they shipped five points against Ross County and Dundee last month to find the moment where the title charge was derailed. There was a stage where I thought Celtic weren’t firing on all cylinders and Rangers were playing well. But then that double dunt in Dingwall and Dundee took the wind right out the sails and gave Celtic the bit between their teeth.

Celtic Park was last chance saloon at the weekend. But a slow start cost Philippe Clement ’s side dear again. Why? That’s the problem the manager knows he needs to find the solution to because I genuinely don’t think there’s a big gap between the sides.

Maybe he will come up with something different at Hampden, a change in personnel or formation that will see them get off on the front foot. But first things first, Rangers need to make sure they finish the league season strongly at Tynecastle to carry momentum into the final.

I would imagine the manager will pick his strongest team in Gorgie. He will want to go out with a bang and go into the week building up to the final with some real positivity and confidence of lifting a second piece of silverware.

A cup double would be a reasonable season because you have to remember where Rangers were when the manager came in. After the Aberdeen game that cost Michael Beale his job, I was wondering where the team was going.

But Clement came in, got a jolt out the side and it’s just faltered in the final month. That’s the frustration. They got into a position where they had a real opportunity to do something special.

But it’s in the past now. You can’t dwell on situations at a club like Rangers. You’ve got to learn lessons and move on quickly.

Be hurt, be disappointed and make sure you never want to feel like that again. Remember those scenes from Rugby Park and tell yourself: I never want to go through that again.