Rangers manager Steven Gerrard says his team no longer fear Celtic after they won their second Old Firm derby of the season.
And Gerrard believes they have the “confidence and belief” to be more competitive in next year’s title race.
Celtic clinched their eighth league title in a row last weekend, and could win a clean sweep of domestic trophies for the third season running.
“We haven’t lost the league on Old Firm results or performances,” said Gerrard.
“We know what we need to do. They [Celtic] are the team that’s won the league, won the [League] cup, probably about to win another cup.
“We have to show respect as that’s what football’s all about.
“This season coming to an end comes at a bad time for us because we’re in good shape. We need next season to be big and everyone has got to be part of that.”
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Gerrard took charge of Rangers last summer, and led them to the group stage of the Europa League. However, they will end the season trophyless and that is something the former Liverpool captain is keen to change next season.
“We’ve added quality and we’ve evolved with the players we have,” he told Rangers TV. “We’re a better team now.
“We have to realise where we are. We haven’t won anything yet. But there’s a lot of positives to take from the season, there’s a lot of progress made.
“Going into next season I’m not inheriting a team that’s hurt or broken or has got a fear against Celtic. I’m walking in the door in the summer with a good team and hopefully we can add some good additions to that and be even better. There’s confidence there and belief there which goes a long way in football.”
Rangers have ‘fallen short’
Rangers won the Old Firm derby after they took the lead in the opening minutes through a James Tavernier’s free-kick before Scott Arfield sealed the three points for the home side.
It means both sides have two wins apiece in the four games between them this season.
“It’s an important victory, not so much for now but for moving forward,” said the Rangers manager.
“We deserve a lot of praise because we were outstanding from start to finish, and we were better in every department.”