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Tom English strikes again- BBC man tips Gerrard for Champions League glory with Second XI too good for SPFL flops

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Less than a fortnight ago Tom English was predicting a domestic treble for his Ibrox heroes to accompany a run into the riches of the Champions League.

Four games into the new season and it looks like another classic disaster from the last man in Scotland to be backing Craig Whyte to steer the old club clear of liquidation.

English is the chief sports writer at the Scottish branch of the British Broadcasting Corporation, apparently, he knows a bit about egg-chasing but not enough for his employers to send him to South Africa to watch lions.

At Scotland on Sunday English never got near a worthwhile story but a big gob and constant criticism of Celtic earned him a move to the state broadcaster, free from commercial pressures of having to attract an audience for advertisers.

Last summer he did uncover a source somewhere in Gorgie to feed him stories about the SPFL, on one edition of Sportsound he was joined by Gregory Campbell.

On Saturday Dundee United threw egg in the face of the egg chaser, his pre-season predictions for the Ibrox club looks like becoming every bit as iconic as James Traynor’s succulent lamb scoffed at the House of Sir Dave in 1998.


With their stability and remarkable squad depth – in Scottish football terms – they’re holding every ace. They actually have two strong teams – one that would be hot favourites to win the league and a second that could well finish runner-up if they were given a shot at it.


George Edmundson has now left but at centre-half they still have Connor Goldson, Filip Helander, Nikola Katic, Leon Balogun and Jack Simpson. Experience, a bit of defensive dog and touches of class. That list is also an illustration of their numbers and it’s repeated throughout the squad.

They have a battalion of midfielders, which has been supplemented by the arrival of the experienced Premier League player John Lundstram. At centre-forward they have Alfredo Morelos, Kemar Roofe, Cedric Itten, the everlasting Jermain Defoe and the intriguing Fashion Sakala, who scored 16 league goals for Oostende in Belgium last season and got one against Real Madrid at the weekend.

Drooling over pre-season friendly results against Real Madrid and Arsenal, but not Tranmere, he added:

The Ibrox club played without Helander, Morelos, Borna Barisic, Ryan Kent, Aribo and Jack in that game. Their early-season form line is streets ahead of all others. Celtic, toiling horribly to get a competent goalkeeper and a defence worthy of the name in place, lost 6-2 to West Ham on Saturday.


Celtic, in their now distant pomp, won four trebles on the spin. They were never caught the way Gerrard’s team were. They were too good, too resilient. A full house of domestic trophies has to be the target for Gerrard this time.

Not just that. There’s Europe, too. This is a side that has had notable victories in recent seasons. They’ve beaten Braga, Porto, Feyenoord, Legia Warsaw, Midtjylland, Galatasaray and others. They’ve drawn twice – and should have won twice – against Benfica.

They’ve now earned a shot at the Champions League group stage and all the glamour and pound signs that come with it. All of this is clearly within their grasp. More trophies at home and a place with the big boys in Europe – those are the next goals.


They have numerous marketable assets on their hands and, in most cases, decent back-up. They’re in a good place even if they do end up selling Morelos, Kamara or Aribo. A ton of Champions League loot wouldn’t half alter the fiscal picture at Ibrox.

Succulent Tam concluded with:

Gerrard has an opportunity to emulate Rangers’ city neighbours this season. A treble and a Champions League adventure has to be the target. They don’t have to win the league by 25 points again. They don’t have to go unbeaten in the Premiership. They don’t have to threaten any goalscoring or conceding records. The clean sweep and the European run is what it’s all about.

Celtic are beginning a painful transition, Aberdeen, Hibs and St Johnstone are building and the hope is they’ll get some European loot to kick them on even further, but Rangers retain a massive advantage domestically and serious optimism continentally.

CLICK HERE for English’s full fawning classic.

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