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Rangers off-field woes have caused Celtic to relax says McGarvey

Former Celtic star Frank McGarvey believes Neil Lennon's squad has relaxed mentally knowing that there is a very slim chance of them missing out on this season's title.

McGarvey, who won two Scottish titles as well as three cups during his five-year stint at Parkhead in the 1980s, suggests that the fact Celtic's rivals Rangers are now dealing with administration has forced the players to take their foot off the gas in the race for the premiership.

'Gers were docked 10 points by the league due to their financial woes and McGarevy feels it may have had an effect on the Hoops who recently lost the League Cup final to Kilmarnock prior to Sunday's Old Firm defeat at Ibtrox.

"The big thing for Neil Lennon now is getting it right before Celtic face Hearts (in the Scottish Cup semi-final on April 15)," McGarvey told Record Sport.

"This could be a tougher challenge than actually winning the league.

"Celtic have lost their mental edge and it's a major concern for them. I can remember as a player winning the league then struggling to get myself up for the remaining games.

"It all happens subconsciously but no matter how hard you try your concentration is not as sharp.

"It's a psychological problem Neil has to somehow overcome. If you're not sharp for the league games then you're going to falter in the cup games. "Standards have slipped but I don't think you can blame the manager. Players know they don't have to go that extra mile because the hard work is already done.

"The worst thing to happen to Celtic was Rangers being deducted 10 points. I believe that penalty has taken the edge off Celtic's game because they know the league is already won.

"I'm sure if Rangers were still breathing down their necks it would be a different story.

"Mentally I think it's hard for the players to keep going at the pace that saw them win 20 domestic games on the spin.

"It's not a case of deliberately not trying but subconsciously you don't always give 100 per cent when the job is already done."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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