FORMER Celtic boss Neil Lennon reckons his old club are still favourites to win their eighth successive Premiership title this season.
The Hoops have come in for some criticism after a stuttering start to the campaign and are sixth in the table following eight dropped points in defeats to Hearts (1-0) and Kilmarnock (2-1) and a goalless draw with St Mirren.
Brendan Rodgers’ side haven’t caught fire and have averaged only a goal a game in their six Premiership outings, including three in the opening-day 3-1 win victory over new boys Livingston at Parkhead.
Hibs boss Lennon still believes the double treble-winners will get into their stride and be there at the finishing line when the prizes are being handed out.
He said: “With the investment Rangers have made in their squad and the improvement of other clubs, it will be far more competitive.
“But I still think Celtic will win the league, simply because of their strength in depth.
“I would like to think we’ll be there or thereabouts. But challenging for the title, I don’t know what Craig Levein would say, but it would be very difficult.
“Once Celtic hit the ground running, they will be hard to stop. They’re still clear favourites for the title.
“I saw them and they lost a last-minute goal – it happens. But, from adverse results before, that team under Brendan Rodgers have reacted positively. I am sure that will be the case again.
“In terms of other teams, does it give them encouragement? I am sure from Rangers’ point of view it will give them encouragement.
“From Hearts’ and our point of view, a little bit of encouragement. I think it’s good for the game. But I’ve seen this many times before.
“I’ve seen it with managers I played for at Celtic, Martin O’Neill and Gordon Strachan. And I saw it myself as a manager.”
Lennon will get an opportunity to have a close look at Rodgers’ men in action when he takes his Easter Road side to Glasgow on October 20 – when the Premiership table may have a decidedly different complexion.