Kevin Thomson believes Rangers can have no complains about how Saturday's Old Firm derby panned out - and he offered little sympathy for John Lundstram, who left Philippe Clement's side playing with 10 men following his first half sending off. 

Cyriel Dessers had reduced the deficit after a sensational Matt O'Riley strike and a Lundstram own goal put Celtic two up.

But seconds before the half-time whistle, Lundstram slid in recklessly towards Alistair Johnston and initially received a caution. However, it was then overturned to a red. 

That left Rangers in the doldrums as Celtic triumphed 2-1 winners to extend their gap at the Scottish Premiership summit to six points and seven goals clear of their fierce neighbours, with only two games remaining. 

Speaking to Sky Sports, the former Light Blues midfielder said: "I don't think they (Rangers) can have any complaints. I think Celtic were worthy winners. 

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"I think once they got their noses in front, it looked like they could go on and win quite comfortably. Obviously Rangers scoring at a key time off the back of the second goal going in, to go up the pitch and get that goal to give themselves a wee lifeline approaching half-time. 

"Then what John Lundstram does is just madness really, so I think overall the table never lies to be honest."

On the red card issued to Lundstram following a VAR review, Thomson explained why there was no doubt the correct decision was made. 

"I don't know if the own goal lost his composure," he continued. 

"He's obviously jumped out of position to do what he's done. Listen, I've been there, the height of the game, the emotion and the rivalry is there for everybody to see.

"He's maybe just thought his teams back in it, his backs up and emotional control maybe lets him down for that split second. 

"There's no doubt that it was a red card. It was rash and it has cost his team, because I think Silva was starting to come into the game and I think when Dessers gets that goal, you think can you get to half-time then the manager can tweak something. 

"They are still in the game even though they should have been out of sight, Celtic, in the first half.

“But to do that almost gives you an uphill battle, and I think the writing was on the wall as soon as John done what he done." 

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Rangers have been unable to register a victory against Celtic this season, and Lundstram's dismissal just gave Clement's men a mammoth task to change that. 

They were ultimately unable to cause their Glasgow rivals any damage and Thomson understands the past month will have been difficult to stomach, given the fact Rangers dropped points at both Dundee and Ross County when victories could've propelled them to the league summit. 

He stated: "I think that will be the frustration (not beating Celtic). When these games come around it's always great to perform really well and score goals, and beat your rivals. 

"But the one thing that really matters is winning. Nobody thinks back to the performances, they just think about winning.

"So, there's no doubt that Celtic have had the upper hand. The table doesn't lie, they are more than likely going to go on and win the league now. Whether that happens with Rangers slipping up on Tuesday or whether they get the point that they need on Wednesday night against Kilmarnock. 

"But I think the biggest thing for Rangers is the fact two or three weeks ago, they were well in it, makes it a more difficult one to stomach. 

"I think off the back of Michael Beale, the season was almost done, and then they managed to claw themselves back into it. 

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"Obviously that away game up in Dingwall and then dropping points against Dundee as well I think was a sore one to stomach. You then go back that up by losing to your arch rivals and Celtic look like they are going to clinch another title, so it's a difficult one for the fans to stomach." 

Rangers still have the opportunity to end the 2023/24 campaign with a domestic double - should they beat Celtic in the Scottish Cup final on May 25. 

Thomson believes clinching more silverware will help ease the pain of missing out on another league crown yet he knows some supporters won't change their opinion on how the season has panned out. 

"They need to win," he said. "I think it might just buy some of the players a better summer. 

"The league is the bread and butter, so there's no doubt that everybody will be hurting, but I think if they can go and get their hands on that trophy at the end of May then obviously it might change the narrative a wee bit. 

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"I don't think the fans will change their opinion that some players have maybe run their course and they will expect big changes in the summer. 

"There's key players like John Lundstram, (Borna) Barisic, etc that are out of contract. You wonder if they will move on. 

"I don't think the cup double will heal everything but I certainly think it will give them some momentum going into the summer and then certainly a different feel factor."