Former Rangers star claims Celtic fate could tip title scales

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Neil Murray believes the Rangers will be ready to take full advantage of a turn of fate that could see Odsonne Edouard and Ryan Christie miss the Old Firm clash.The former Ibrox midfielder is convinced that the possible absence of two huge assets from Neil Lennon’s side ahead of next weekend’s game at Parkhead is not the Rangers’ concern, but admits few clubs in the world could face the loss of their two best forwards.

The two Hoops stars should be sidelined due to Edouard testing positive for Covid while on French Under-21 service and Christie self-isolating after being identified as a contact close to his Scottish teammate Stuart Armstrong, also stricken by the virus. .

Murray is adamant it will be business as usual for his former club at Parkhead and has supported Steven Gerrard and his players to make the most of what can be described as good fortune.

He said: “It’s really a goddamn situation where no one is at fault and it’s just a bad hand that Celtic has been dealt.

“Football continues and the Rangers will try to capitalize on this misfortune. It works both ways and Celtic would be the same if the tables had been turned. That said, the Rangers won’t treat the game any differently than they would have without Celtic losing arguably their two most important attacking players.

“The Rangers have shown this season that they have their own brand and their own style of play and that won’t change. They will try to impose themselves on the game as they normally would.

“The disappearance of Edouard and Christie will not change their approach to the game, neither the form nor the form. What Celtic will miss at Edouard is a confirmed goalscorer, but more importantly, he’s a recognized goalscorer against Rangers in particular.

“He’s been a key player in Old Firm games the past few seasons so it’s a big blow.
for Celtic.

“It’s a hammer blow for both the club and the player, but he’s so central to the attack.

“When you look at the previous Old Firm games where Edouard didn’t start, it’s Mikey Johnson or Lewis Morgan who played and Celtic struggled.

“Edward being in the squad makes them more powerful and he scored a few goals in an Old Firm game last season to emphasize that he is the club’s No.1 No.9.

Murray is convinced that having Christie in isolation as Celtic look elsewhere to fill the creative void is going to be a major concern for Lennon as he loses a player who is the liaison man in their system.

He added: “It was hard enough to lose Edouard but Christie is also a big miss, maybe as bad as Edouard will be because he brings a lot to the table with the way Lennon asks his team to play. .

“When it comes to scoring goals, creating chances and getting shots on target, that’s one of their greatest weapons. He is evolving in an area where it is so difficult to master and he bonds well with Edouard and other players.

“When you have two players in the frontcourt who are such big threats and lose them, any team in the world would be damaged by losing those potential goals for their team. There are very few teams that wouldn’t have a hard time adjusting to what happened at Celtic.

“Christie was also on the right track against the Rangers when he scored the only goal of the game last December and he’s a crucial man for the way they play.

Lennon will now look to his bench and the likes of returning man Leigh Griffiths, Albian Ajeti and the less spotty Patryck Klamala as ready-made replacements for the duo.




And Murray insists it will be a consolation for Celtic to have such talented firepower.

He said: “One thing Celtic have now that may not have been the case in recent seasons is that there are real hitting options now.

“Ajeti is in good shape to score and Leigh Griffiths came off the bench against St Johnstone this weekend and showed what it was all about by scoring.

“There is still potentially a fitness issue with him and while losing two key men is a hammer blow, there is reason to believe Celtic have the strength and depth to cope.

“All managers want to have their best players available and Neil Lennon will be no different.

“But it’s a twist of fate that he’ll just accept and get along with, disappointing as it is.

“Celtic have a great team, there are good players who can come and replace them.

“I have no doubt Griffiths would enjoy a game against the Rangers and again he has that tag as a proven goalscorer.

“Ajeti is doing well and Klimala seems capable even though he hasn’t had that much playing time.

“So there are options for them and I’m sure Lennon will have his players motivated for this game no matter who plays.

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