John Kennedy’s claims that Celtic are still Scotland’s best team have been dismissed as a ‘joke‘ by Rangers defender Borna Barisic.
Parkhead’s acting boss has poked fun at Glasgow’s blue half ahead of Sunday’s Scottish Cup clash by insisting the Hoops are still the best.
Gerrard and Barisic were less than impressed with Kennedy’s comments.
But now Barisic and manager Steven Gerrard have held back, and the Croatian international even called Kennedy’s words disrespectful to the newly crowned Ibrox champions, who remain unbeaten in the league with just four games to play.
“I didn’t listen to the comments, but I read the interview beforehand and I think it’s the biggest joke I’ve heard this year,” Barisic said.
“They didn’t beat us in three games and we are 20 points ahead of them, so it’s a bit disrespectful for us. That is my comment on that.
“You need to always be realistic in life. If someone is better and if someone is 20 points ahead of you, you just don’t talk like that.
“It is a lack of respect for all the things we do this season.
Celtic’s interim boss Kennedy made the big claim earlier this week
“It’s not just his (Kennedy). I know a lot of people who talk about the Celtic situation with Covid and all these things.
“It’s like we have lost five games or we are only five points ahead of them.
“We have a 20-point advantage over them, we didn’t lose a game this year. It is disrespectful to talk about anyone and about changes. I mean this season. That’s.”
Gerrard has also stoked the fire ahead of Sunday’s last 16 showdown at Ibrox.
He said: “I don’t really focus on anyone outside of the Rangers in terms of their opinions. I just focus on what’s happening in here.
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“On May 15th we will lift our 55th title as a club and I will be one of the proudest men on the planet.
“Where that is now, we have a 20-point lead with four games to play with a chance to go undefeated. So I don’t need to hear from anyone outside of the Rangers to see that. I know the reality and the truth.
“It is a date that we look forward to as a club. The opinion of anyone from the outside on that is not really important.
Gers have won three of the last four derby meetings, but were not at their best, claiming victory in January thanks to an own goal by Callum McGregor or Parkhead’s 1-1 draw last month. .
However, Gerrard refuses to worry about those displays as he looks for a possible league and cup double.
“We are very proud of our season so far. A couple of losses in the late 1940s, almost hitting 50 games, I think that’s a phenomenal record and a real level of consistency, “he said.
“What has happened before in previous derbies or what has happened before this season will have nothing to do with what will happen in the next 90 minutes, or possibly more.
“It is a lot for us. We need to find a performance that is good enough to progress and that is the only focus here right now.