Celtic have handed Rangers ‘title predicament’ with Europa League win claims Noel Whelan | Football | Sport

Celtic beat Lazio 2-1 on Thursday to confirm their place in the knock-out stages, as Rangers battle Feyenoord, Young Boys and Porto for a spot in the next round.

The Hoops are also on top in the Premiership table after 11 fixtures, edging out their Old Firm rivals on goal difference with both sides on 28 points apiece.

Former Leeds striker Noel Whelan has given his thoughts on the domestic battle, and discussed why Neil Lennon’s men have earned an early advantage despite sitting on level pegging.

Whelan told Football Insider: “When you look at the Premiership and how close it is, separated by one goal on goal difference, it gives them [Celtic] that breathing space.

“They don’t need to go and qualify, they’ve already done it, now they can concentrate on the league.

“On the other hand Steven Gerrard – three points ahead of Feyenoord, having to go over there in the next game – still has a lot of work to do and that can put the pressure on the players

“Games are important and that can take a lot out of you as a football player, that concentration level.

“Knowing you need to go to the next team below you, if you can get a point, fantastic, but you’ve got to say in Premiership terms and in title predicament, it’s fallen better for Celtic – they’ve done their job already.

“They’re there already, they can now concentrate on the Premiership games whereas Rangers have one eye on European qualification and on the Premiership.”

Celtic hero Chris Sutton has also given his thoughts on the Bhoys’ European exploits, and even claimed that former manager Brendan Rodgers will be jealous of the win in Italy.

Sutton told the Daily Record: “Neil Lennon surely shut up the last of his doubters in Rome.

“As I left the Stadio Olimpico after Celtic’s stunning win over Lazio, I couldn’t help but wonder what those who were whining about the club apparently going backwards when they appointed my old team-mate to replace Brendan Rodgers were thinking.

“At the same time, I wondered what Rodgers himself was thinking.

“Celtic’s former manager is doing a terrific job at Leicester just as he did at Parkhead.

“But he must have watched that with a touch of envy.”

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