Johan Mjallby has warned Celtic that they need to continue their ruthless streak in the cups and snuff out any glimmer of hope down Ibrox way.
The Swede, who was a Treble winning hero under Martin O’Neill, knows the league is the top priority for Neil Lennon, but underlined the importance of going for a perfect 10 out of 10 trophies.
Celtic have, of course, won the last nine during their incredible treble Treble run and Lennon’s former assistant manager stressed the need to maintain the winning habit.
Speaking in the Record ahead of Celtic’s League Cup clash with Partick Thistle, Mjallby called upon those who have been through the course before, such as Scott Brown and Callum McGregor, to lead the way again.
He said: “A lot of people think Rangers will go all the way this time and for me it’s the first time in years they are a proper challenger to Celtic… This season they should be a proper challenger — or they’ll be disappointed.”
This, of course, was trumpeted by all of a blue persuasion last year, but Celtic cleaned up.
The 48-year-old believes, however, that one way the Ibrox club could bolstering their belief would be if they could pick up their first piece of silverware. This alone is good reason for Celtic to guard against complacency.
He continued: “It’s important when you play for the [Glasgow clubs] you have to try and win every trophy.
“The Betfred Cup is maybe more important to Rangers for confidence and to prove they are on the right track to become proper challengers.”
With competition in all areas of the park and the new signings battling to impress Lennon, Celtic have made an excellent start to the season domestically winning their first six league matches.
And for all the noise coming from the Rangers fans and their cheerleaders, Mjallby has been impressed at how Celtic responded to their two reverses at Ibrox last season.
He said: “I was surprised in a way at how comfortably Celtic won the [Ibrox] game.
“I thought Rangers would be a bit more aggressive with their pressing as they were successful twice at Ibrox last season.”
*Celtic v Partick Thistle, Wednesday 7:45pm