FORMER Ibrox skipper Richard Gough fears his old club are in for a pummelling at Parkhead on Saturday.

The one-time Scotland international centre-back admitted Ange Postecoglou has better quality players at his disposal than his opposite number Michael Beale.

Gough is aware that the Govan club have won only six of their previous 40 visits to the east end of the city – and he doesn’t see that statistic being altered when the clubs lock horns for the fourth time this season.

Celtic won the first Premiership game in September with a pulverising four-goal performance and there was a 2-2 stalemate at Ibrox in the opening match of 2023.

PARADISE…Liel Abada is walking on air after the first of his double in the 4-0 win in September.

A double from Kyogo Furuhashi made certain the League Cup would be travelling back to the Parkhead trophy cabinet for the second successive year when the Hoops emerged victorious with a 2-1 scoreline at Hampden in February.

Postecoglou’s men can stretch their advantage to TWELVE points with just seven games to play if they are successful on this occasion.

Gough, who now lives in California, is rightly concerned the Ibrox club are right in line for another hiding and said: “Look at what’s happened the last few times we’ve played there.

“There has been a 3-0 and a 4-0 in there. It’s got heavy!

“I still get up and watch it at something like half past four in the morning here, but I’m sitting behind the couch! It’s a hard watch for me, especially when my record at Parkhead was a good one.

“I didn’t suffer too many defeats there during my 11 years, never mind these past one or two seasons. And it’s the defeats that hurt, I remember them more than I do all the wins.”

JOY BHOY JOTA…Celtic’s Portuguese ace accepts the acclaim of the Celtic fans after his solo goal in the 4-0 romp.

Back in the day when the Hoops were toiling there was an inferiority complex hanging heavily in the air at Parkhead.

Gough now reckons that mood has switched across Glasgow and, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “Very much so.

“One of my good friends in the international team was Paul McStay and he was the best Celtic player I played against during my time. But he didn’t have the team around him that I had.

“When we were together with Scotland we kind of knew it. Celtic were going through a difficult period at the time and we were buying all the best players, so it just made sense that we were going to win most of the games.

“And that’s what I see now. I don’t like to say it, but Celtic have a better team than us at the moment, I think the majority of the Rangers supporters would agree with that.

“They have better players, they run around more. Stuff like that, if Rangers are going to beat them, first they’ll need to match that energy. But in Old Firm games you are always hoping for the best.

SIGNS ARE GOOD…Kyogo Furuhashi is congratulated by Greg Taylor following the first of his two goals the 2-1 League Cup Final success at Hampden in February.

“Michael has done very well since he’s been there and he’s got a chance to win the Scottish Cup. So if Rangers can go there and get a result on Saturday then it might put a marker down for the semi-final, as well.”

Sweden-born Gough, who turned 61 today, added: “Look, Rangers have a decent group of players. We just haven’t won there enough over the last 10-15 years. The last four or five years have been much closer because the quality of players at Rangers has been better.

“But I still think at the moment Celtic are stronger and the league position proves it. The Japanese boys who have come in have all been very disciplined. They’re good signings and they’ve worked very well.

“Then, obviously, they brought in a manager who no-one knew very much about.

“But I spoke to Craig Moore about him at the time and he said: ‘He’ll get them going, Goughie – he’s a good one!’

“And, unfortunately, he was right!”

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