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Sutton: Celtic have lost fear factor | Boyd’s big Clement comparison

Chris Sutton says Celtic have been “bang average” this season and Brendan Rodgers must take responsibility for their stagnation.

Celtic had been on a run of eight wins in nine games prior to Saturday’s draw against Kilmarnock, but now find themselves two points off Scottish Premiership leaders Rangers after their win at St Johnstone.

Sutton says the setback against Kilmarnock came as no surprise because Celtic have lost the “fear factor” and “teams fancy getting a result against them”.

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Highlights from the Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Kilmarnock

“Celtic have been bang average all season,” said the Sky Sports pundit. “I know Brendan [Rodgers] in the week was talking about the recent form and winning eight of the last nine.

“The wins have papered over the cracks. Performances haven’t been there. I don’t think Celtic are kidding anyone – they aren’t a good team this season.

“Everyone talks about the board and signings and this being a long time in the making, this particular moment. But Brendan Rodgers has to take responsibility.

“I can’t think of one player this season at Celtic who he has improved and that’s on the manager.

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Brendan Rodgers has criticised his Celtic side for being ‘too safe’ and ‘too negative’ in their 1-1 home draw with Kilmarnock, but insists his squad will do all they can to bounce back in the title race

“You look at the points that Celtic have dropped domestically, forget the Champions League campaign, which was a disaster. If you just look at Celtic domestically in isolation they have been poor.

“I can’t remember the last time a Celtic team were outplayed in halves of football by so many teams as they have been this season and that is on Brendan.

“You think about fast and furious under Ange Postecoglou. The brand of football is slow and predictable.”

Sutton: Title race not done and dusted

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Sky Sports’ Kris Boyd and Chris Sutton discuss the Scottish Premiership title race as Rangers move top above Celtic for the first time this season

Despite his gloomy outlook on Celtic’s season, Sutton does not believe his former side are out of the title race yet, saying “it’s not done and dusted by any stretch”.

He added: “It’s about the next game. You can’t look too far ahead and that’s what Celtic have to do, win the next game, hopefully get some key players back like Cameron Carter-Vickers and Reo Hatate.

“The fact of the matter is Celtic have messed up and messed up badly this season. They’ve beaten Rangers twice and they’ve let an eight-point lead gap go and Rangers have dragged that back on them.

“But we haven’t seen the best of Celtic. We know that Brendan over the years has proven he’s a good coach, he’s going to have to do that again.

“He doesn’t quite know what his best starting eleven is at this moment in time. I think that’s a problem.

“Celtic have got a lot of issues, but it’s about winning the next game and putting Rangers under pressure.”

Boyd: Clement going about business like Smith

Sky Sports pundit Kris Boyd says Rangers are in a good place under boss Philippe Clement, who reminds him of legendary Ibrox chief Walter Smith.

“Under Michael Beale there was too much football played, and I don’t think Philippe Clement looks at it and wants to be the best passing team in the league,” he said. “It doesn’t really bother him. The most important thing is to win the game of football.

“There has been comparisons with Clement and Walter Smith, in terms of the way they went about their business, and I can understand why.

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Highlights from the Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Kilmarnock

“That out there was like maybe watching us back in the day in terms of we’ll just go back to front, we’ll ask St Johnstone to defend and then try and win the game of football.

“Clement’s been over the course and distance. He knows exactly what it takes to win trophies and he’s sensible in what he’s saying week by week and game by game.

“They move on to Hearts now and they’re in a good place but they know it can change so quickly. There will be more twists and turns between now and the end of the season, there’s no doubt about that, but Rangers are in a good place at this moment in time.”

Sky News
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