Hibernian manager Neil Lennon has praised Steven Gerrard’s impact on Rangers and predicts this Scottish Premiership season will be much more competitive.
Celtic have won the top flight for the last seven seasons, securing back-to-back domestic trebles under Brendan Rodgers, but Lennon is certain the gap to the Hoops is closing.
The Hibernian manager, who led Celtic to title glory in 2011/12 and 2012/13, told Jim White on talkSPORT: “I think the league was very competitive last year, but there’s no question that Rangers are stronger this year, Aberdeen will have a say in it, and Hearts look very strong this year.
‘’So the competition is getting stronger, the league is getting sexier again with a lot of big clubs bang at it again.
‘’Celtic have been the dominant team and I think they will continue to be that, but I think everyone is starting to build and get closer to that.’’
Celtic will bid to keep alive their Champions League group stage hopes on Tuesday night, but face a tough task having drawn against AEK Athens at home in the first leg of their third qualifying round.
talkSPORT presenter Jim White believes Rodgers could end his reign as Celtic boss should they fail to qualify, but Lennon would be surprised if he walked away.
“His record has been remarkable in the two season he has been there,” said Lennon. “He has come out and said he is happy and we have to take him at as his word.”
Lennon went on to praise Rangers new boss Gerrard, who has yet to taste defeat in seven matches in charge and led the club to victory over Maribor in the first leg of their Europa League qualifying third round clash last week.
‘’Steven has done a fantastic job so far,” said Lennon.
“The 3-1 first leg lead was a tremendous result considering that he has had to bring in a lot of players and he’s building his own squad and they’ve given themselves a real foothold in the tie.
“It’s not over yet but defensively Rangers have looked very strong so far.’’