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‘IT’S GONE,’ ADMITS HOOPS HERO

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JOHN HARTSON insists Celtic’s hopes of a historic tenth successive title is blown – and anyone still talking up a flag win this season is “deranged”.

With 13 players self-isolating after the Covid-19 fall-out and Neil Lennon and John Kennedy missing from the dug-out, the Hoops limped to a goalless draw with Livingston at Parkhead yesterday.

The champions are now 20 points off the pace after dropping their seventh point in three Premiership outings since the turn of the year.

Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox outfit can stretch their advantage to 23 if they beat Motherwell at Fir park this afternoon. Celtic will still have three games in hand – which represents a potential nine points – but former goal hero Hartson is adamant the dream of a historic tenth successive crown is obliterated.

The one-time Parkhead fans’ favourite, speaking on the Celtic Exchange podcast, said: “Listen, it’s gone now.

“The league is gone and I think anybody who says that it’s not… I think they’re a bit deranged.

“As you can see, Rangers have lost no games all season. If anything Celtic have to be careful they don’t lose the league before the split.

“In terms of how Rangers are going, they’ll probably go to Motherwell and win.

“The chance was to come back from Dubai, win-win-win, and, hopefully, Rangers slip up. It hasn’t quite happened like that.

“For me, the league was gone anyway when we lost at Ibrox and we went 19 points behind.

“I said it would be amazing to come back from that amount of points, Rangers weren’t going to lose five or six games – they’ve not lost all season, so why are they suddenly going to lose five or six?

“The points difference now is 20 and a goal difference of 23: that’s 21 points.

“I know we’ve got games in hand, but we’ve just had two games in hand and we failed to win either of them.

“It’s just disappointing and I think generally the whole feeling around the football club is very downbeat.

“There’s not a lot to get excited about.”

Celtic will get another chance to score against Livi when they meet them again in West Lothian on Wednesday night.

Amazingly, the club have yet to score a goal from open play in 2021. Their only strike in the three games since the turn of the year has been David Turnbull’s free-kick in the 1-1 draw with Hibs on Monday.

SCORELESS AND CLUELESS FOR DISMAL HOOPS

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