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PROVAN MAKES GRIFF PLEA

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FORMER Celtic star Davie Provan reckons John Kennedy has to be bold at Ibrox in today’s High Noon showdown.

The ex-Scotland international winger, one of Billy McNeill’s 10-men title heroes in 1979, insists the stand-in boss MUST start with Leigh Griffiths alongside Odsonne Edouard in attack.

The Hoops go into their fifth Glasgow derby of a wretched campaign still searching for their first success following three losses and a draw.

Only pride and the opportunity to obliterate any invincibles claim from the home side are at stake for the Parkhead men.

Provan, writing in his column in the Scottish Sun on Sunday, states: “Having tipped Celtic to beat Rangers in the Scottish Cup, I can’t say I much fancy their chances at Ibrox.

“Too many of John Kennedy’s players are in the departure lounge.

“But if they’re to come up short again, I hope Kennedy lets them die with their boots on. If the interim boss is to end Gers’ unbeaten league run he has to have a proper go.

“Playing Leigh Griffiths up alongside Odsonne Edouard would be a good start.”

GRIFF THE GOAL…Leigh Griffiths celebrates his stoppage-time leveller against Aberdeen.

Provan also admitted he has not been overly-impressed by Steven Gerrard’s side who have won one out of nine domestic trophies up for grabs during his three-year tenure.

And he also believes financial barriers are ahead for the team who won their first championship in a decade, but have gone out of the Betfred League Cup and Scottish Cup to St Mirren and St Johnstone respectively this term.

The top media pundit commented: “I’ve been around long enough to recognise a top Rangers team. This isn’t one of them. Gerrard will know that himself.

“I’m not saying this on the back of St Johnstone’s Cup win at Ibrox last weekend. I get how that happened. Players switch off when the league is won.

“But I’m not buying Dave King’s prediction of sustained dominance for Rangers. He’s getting way ahead of himself there.

“Before a ball was kicked last August, they were in a pressure cooker trying to stop The Ten.

“Remember, this was a squad that had collapsed when the heat was on last time around.

“The village idiot wouldn’t have fancied Rangers this season. Instead, they’ve romped it with tons to spare.

“Yes, they should have done better in both Cups, but this season the title was the only show in town.

“But on the back of Rangers’ first success in a decade, some people are getting carried away.”

SUNDAY BEST…Odsonne Edouard could have company up front at Ibrox today.

Provan continued: “The idea this team is equipped to rule for years is NONSENSE.

“Like Celtic, they will have to sell their best players to sustain their wage bill.

“Having spiked The Ten, will generous directors have the appetite to run up more debt?

“Gerrard knows how it works. He was at Anfield when Luis Suarez was sold to Barcelona. And without the sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona, Liverpool couldn’t have paid £75million for Virgil van Dijk or £67million for Alisson.

“Gers’ directors can’t shovel money into the club indefinitely. Their business model isn’t sustainable.”

However, Provan paid tribute to the Ibrox side’s recruitment and added: “While Gerrard and director of football Ross Wilson have managed to find value for money, Celtic have sourced more turkeys than Bernard Matthews.

“Perhaps King is right. Maybe Gers are on the verge of a golden era. Gerrard could be in on the ground floor of another tilt at ten in a row. I wouldn’t bet on it, though.

“When Martin O’Neill took the Hoops job in 2000, Rangers had just finished 21 points ahead of Celts and won the Double. Dick Advocaat’s team had real quality and looked good to boss their rivals for years.

“They ended up 15 points behind Celtic the next season.”

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Rangers v Celtic this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.

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