Did Rangers get a psychological lift when they saw Celtic team?
Celtic’s team line may have contained an untried 20-year-old in defence, and was without numerous normal first-team starters – but did it give Rangers a pre-match psychological lift?
Celtic were unable to call upon Chris Jullien, Hatem Elhamed, Nir Bitton, James Forrest, Ryan Christie and Odsonne Edouard for the first Old Firm derby of the season which they subsequently lost 2-0, but Rangers midfielder Ryan Jack says it made no difference to them who was inked in as starters in green-and-white.
"No, I don’t think so,” replied Jack when asked if the Rangers dressing-room was lifted by Celtic’s shorn starting XI. “The build-up to these games is always big and you hear a lot of things using the week but for us it’s about focusing on the job in hand.
“You can’t look anywhere else and wonder who is playing and who is not. Whatever team is in front of you, you have to win your battles.
“To a man I thought we won our battles and the game played out as we thought it would.”
Two goals from Conor Goldson made it a comfortable afternoon for Gerrard’s men and Jack accepts that the challenge now for Rangers is to maintain their level after falling away so meekly in last season’s title race following a win over Celtic. Before their next league assignment though, they travel to Belgium to play Standard Liege in the Europa League on Thursday night.
"It is a challenge for us,” Jack conceded. “You always have a lot of big games at a club like this and the immediate challenge is to go and back it up on Thursday night.
“European competition and then, it’s every week, it doesn’t get any easier.
“You need to turn up and put in performances. We’ve started the season strong but we want to build on that.
“You always want to get better and improve. Last year we came up short. We can’t hide away from that.
“It’s a fact and this year the challenge is there again for us to forget that season, go again and go stronger. Hopefully we will do it.’