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MONDAY JURY; Our top writers give their verdicts on the big talking points and how the balance of power stands following the first Old Firm clash of the season.

With a superstar new manager and 14 fresh signings are Rangers any closer to bridging the gap with champions Celtic? 1 They can take encouragement from their improved organisation as a unit in defence. But this display was still well short of asking serious questions of a Celtic side still superior in every area of the pitch. Except maybe the goalkeeper's position.

On the basis of this evidence then the answer is no. This was as comprehensive a 1-0 derby doing as it gets. There is no need to press the panic button just yet but it was a reminder there is still a gap as Celtic won with room to spare.

Yes, but they need to find their domestic mojo soon. This is their worst start to the league since 1989. They won the title that year and they'll get close this time around but Celtic are still much stronger.

Based purely on yesterday's evidence the gap looks substantial but that would be to ignore the good work Steven Gerrard has carried out in a short space of time. Rangers are a far stronger unit but there's still some distance between these two sides.

Does Allan McGregor deserve the nod for Scotland ahead of Craig Gordon based on his impressive performance yesterday? 2 McGregor was outstanding and could prove Gers' best signing of the summer but every keeper knows the rules. Gordon has been the man in possession of the No.1 shirt for the previous two campaigns and has done nothing wrong to deserve to relinquish it.

There is no better goalkeeper in Scotland than Allan McGregor. He has nothing to prove and it will come down to Alex McLeish's personal preference but I'd opt for McGregor.

McGregor's performances since returning to the club have been exceptional and if Alex McLeish decides to go with the keeper who is most in form the Rangers No.1 deserves the nod.

McGregor ended last season in possession of the gloves and his form since rejoining Rangers has been inspirational. He's done nothing to merit losing the position.

Celtic now? Brendan Rodgers needed this one. Ridding the squad of Moussa Dembele's negative vibes was the first priority but following it up with anything less than victory would have raised countless questions about morale. They'll motor on from here.

Celtic didn't seem like a disjointed unit or team in disarray. Olivier Ntcham's goal was a marvellous team effort which highlighted the unity of the players in that instant. Sometimes a supposed crisis off the park can help galvanise a side on it.

Celtic will rely on the same core of performers in the coming months and reinforcements should have been added to the group long before now. But they are battlehardened and know the score. The club surely won't be as negligent in January.

Only time will tell but yesterday certainly had the feeling of a team clicking back together and putting differences aside. Brendan Rodgers will be massively encouraged by the response he got from his group.

Has the decision to cut the visiting support taken anything away from the fixture? The passionate atmosphere is the fixture's biggest selling point - so they sell it short by cutting the away support. Bad enough that Rangers haven't made this a competitive match for years, to then start a ticket war by cutting allocations is even worse.

It certainly dilutes the occasion. The 800 or so Rangers fans were easily drowned out. Here's hoping common sense prevails and the decision is reversed at some point as it is feels totally wrong to limit the away support to just a few hundred.

The irony of Connor Goldson claiming a bearpit environment worked against his side when it was Rangers fans who led the call for a reduction in allocation for rival supporters won't be lost on Peter Lawwell.

Yes. The atmosphere suffered for it and for as long as Rangers stick to their guns on this the spectacle will be diluted.





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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 3, 2018
Previous Article:Gers are on right road but Celtic are still miles in front; Hoops hero's verdict.
Next Article:Celtic set aside their internal acrimony to focus on slapping down the threat from Gerrard; The Old Firm.

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