FORMER Celtic flop boss Tony Mowbray has fired a warning to the Hoops to expect a massive challenge from Steven Gerrard and Co in the new campaign.

The Englishman watched his championship side Blackburn Rovers team draw 1-1 at Ibrox yesterday and reckoned he had seen enough to rate the Govan outfit as serious title contenders.

His old club have dominated the domestic scene with eight successive championships as well as completing the unprecedented treble treble last season and Neil Lennon and his players have their sites firmly fixed on nine flags on the way to the magical 10 crowns.

Mowbray, speaking to the Scottish Sun, said: “In the first-half, especially, they had good possession of the ball.

“They are a very well-coached team, so for us it was the perfect game.

“You can see already what Stevie has done. He is putting together a team which has an identity, I would suggest.

“I can say, hand on heart, I have never watched a moment of Rangers play this season, but we played Liverpool this time last season and they play the same 4-3-3 formation.

“They press high from the front, they drop their midfielders deep and try and overload you.

“They suck you on top of them then play through.

“As I said, they are a well-coached team and you can see they are going to be a force this season.”

During his time in charge at Parkhead, Mowbray, a former centre-half at the club, paid £3.8million for striker Marc-Antoine Fortune from Nancy in July 2009.

He handed Brondby £1.5million for Morten Rasmussen six months later. The ill-fated gaffer also introduced the likes of Zheng Zhi, Bahrudin Atajic, Landry N’Guemo and Edson Braafheid to the Hoops fans.

Mowbray was sacked in March 2010 following a 4-0 loss to St Mirren in Paisley. He had been in the hot seat for 10 months.

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