17 Oct Time to shut up shop Rangers
Rangers have been warned they could face another bout of Old Firm humiliation if Mark Warburton does not learn his lesson.
The Ibrox side have only just dusted themselves down from the 5-1 derby pasting Brendan Rodgers’ rampant Celtic dished out last month.
But BT Sport pundit Chris Sutton reckons Gers could end up suffering again in Sunday’s Betfred Cup semi-final showdown unless Warburton reins in his attacking instincts.
The Light Blues found themselves overrun at Celtic Park after their boss sent out a team packed with forward-thinking players.
And former Parkhead hitman Sutton admits he would be stunned if the Englishman retains that gung-ho approach for this weekend’s Hampden duel.
Speaking as he helped promote BT Sport’s coverage of Sunday’s match, he told Press Association Sport: “I have a lot of admiration for Clint Hill. He has been a really good professional over the years. Philippe Senderos has played at a good level down south too.
“Warburton also has Rob Kiernan and Danny Wilson but leaving those kind of guys exposed is a tremendous mistake.
“Celtic are going to come out of the traps on Sunday and press them. If Rangers lose the ball deep when their full-backs are pushed up, they are at risk. That is exactly what happened with Celtic’s second goal at Parkhead.
“But can Warburton play a different way? He hasn’t shown so far that he can.
“Celtic are the favourites but the problem they could have is complacency – but I don’t think that will be the case.
“I think it’s up to Rangers to respond and to respond strongly. They have players who on their day are match-winners and Celtic will be wary of that.
“A lot of how this game will pan out comes down to how Warburton sets his team out and whether they will have the same frailties they had in the last clash.
“Warburton hasn’t shown in his tenure as Rangers manager that he is adaptable – but this is certainly a chance to show he can actually do something different this weekend.
“He’s talked about his Plan B is to do Plan A better. Rangers certainly pass the ball beautifully at times, which we saw again on Friday night at Inverness. They are very good on the eye.
“But where it counts in both boxes they have come up short at times this season.
“The way they play leaves their centre-halves exposed, so I would be surprised if Warburton doesn’t tweak it a little bit because leaving those centre-backs exposed to Celtic’s pace is a problem.”
The Hoops were merciless as they welcomed their old foes back to Celtic Park for the first time in four years.
Moussa Dembele helped himself to a stunning hat-trick as the Rangers back-line opened up time and again.
But even the gulf in class on that occasion has not persuaded Sutton to completely write off Gers this time out.
He said: “If you asked the Celtic manager and their players privately whether they think it will be another 5-1, I think they’d say, ‘Absolutely not’.
“Rangers need to do their talking on the pitch. This is an opportunity to make a statement and to make the right statement.
“You cannot discount Rangers because they have got some talented players.
“They will have to defend like they haven’t managed all season but is it a possibility they could win? Yes.”