FORMER Celtic striker John Hartson believes his old club have been “ridiculous with their domination” as they zero in on their TENTH successive domestic trophy next month.
Neil Lennon saw his eight-in-a-row champions overwhelm Hibs 5-2 in the Betfred League Cup semi-final at Hampden on Saturday night and their reward is a return to the national stadium for a trophy showdown against Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox side on Sunday, December 8.
Hartson thinks the Hoops’ home rule is verging on “embarrassing”, but he also warns Scotland’s title kings their Glasgow neighbours will be going full pelt to derail the green-and-white juggernaut on this occasion.
The ex-Wales international frontman, speaking to the Evening Times, said: “It would be a major coup for Rangers to win the Final.
“They’ve got to find a way to stop Celtic. Celtic have just been ridiculous with their domination. Nine trophies out of nine, it’s almost embarrassing, isn’t it?
“Winning a Cup Final does give you momentum and with there being nothing between them in the league so far, it can make a big difference to get that first piece of silverware.”
Hartson also recalled the 2003 League Cup Final against the Govan outfit as being one of the low points of his Parkhead career.
It was a day the powerful attacker was fated to complete as a runner-up.
He had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside, but worse was to follow with the team trailing 2-1. In the 89th minute, referee Kenny Clark awarded a penalty-kick following a blatant trip by Lorenzo Amoruso on Bobo Balde that sent the giant defender sprawling in the box. Henrik Larsson picked up the ball and threw it to his team-mate.
Hartson added: “I was robbed! I scored a perfectly good goal during that game, two yards onside – proven. It was two yards, it wasn’t one centimetre, talk about clear and obvious.
“Then we got a penalty and Henrik was the penalty-taker, but he had only just come back into the team after breaking his jaw against Livingston. While he was out of the team, I had scored two or three penalties.
“Henrik, being the consummate professional that he was, chucks me the ball. He said: ‘You’ve been taking the penalties, you’ve been scoring’.
“Stefan Klos goes one way, I put the ball a yard past the post the other way. It was as low as I felt during my football career.
“You feel as if you have let everybody down, you’ve missed a penalty. Henrik should have taken it!”
The story will serve as a cautionary note for boss Lennon and his men when December 8 rolls around.