John Kennedy’s claims that Celtic are still Scotland’s best team have been called a ‘joke‘ by Rangers defender Borna Barisic.
The interim Parkhead boss drew contempt from the Glasgow blue half ahead of Sunday’s Scottish Cup shock by insisting the Hoops remain the best dogs.
But now Barisic and boss Steven Gerrard have taken a bite, the Croatia international even doubling down on Kennedy’s disrespectful words to the new champions Ibrox, who remain undefeated in the league with just four games to go.
“I didn’t hear the comments, but I read the interview ahead of time and I think it’s the biggest joke I’ve heard this year,” Barisic said.
“They haven’t won against us in three games and we’re 20 points ahead of them, so it’s a little disrespectful to us. This is my comment on it.
“You have to be in life still realistic. If someone is better and someone has 20 points in front of you, you don’t sound like that.
“It’s disrespectful for everything we do this season.
“It’s not just him (Kennedy). I know a lot of people who talk about Celtic’s situation with Covid and all of that stuff.
“It’s like we’ve lost five games or only have five points ahead of them.
“We are 20 points ahead of them, we haven’t lost a game this year. It is disrespectful to talk about anyone and about changes. I’m talking about this season. That’s it.”
Gerrard also stoked the fires ahead of the final Sunday 16 showdown at Ibrox.
He said: “I’m not really focusing on anyone outside of Rangers in terms of opinions. I’m just focusing on what’s going on inside here.
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“On May 15th we will win our 55th title as a club and I will be one of the proudest men on the planet.
“Where it stands right now, we have a 20-point lead with four games to go with the chance to remain undefeated. So I don’t need to listen to anyone outside of Rangers to have an opinion on this. I know the reality and the truth.
“It’s a date that we look forward to as a club. It doesn’t really matter what point of view anyone on the outside thinks about it. “
The Gers have won three of the last four derby clashes but weren’t at their best as they took the win in January thanks to a home side goal of Callum McGregor or Parkhead’s 1-1 draw last month .
However, Gerrard refuses to worry about such displays as he contemplates a potential league and cup brace.
“We are really proud of our season so far. A few losses at the end of the forties, almost 50 games, I think that’s a phenomenal record and a real level of consistency, ”he said.
“What happened in the previous derbies or what happened before this season will not affect what will happen in the next 90 minutes or more.
“It’s really for us. We have to find a good enough performance to progress and that is the only goal here at the moment. “