Celtic captain Scott Brown does not expect Rangers to be a title threat in the Scottish Premiership this season.
Rangers romped to the Championship title last season to seal their top-flight return, having been demoted to the fourth tier from 2012-13 onwards following serious financial mismanagement at Ibrox.
Mark Warburton’s men beat their fierce Glasgow rivals in the semi-finals of last season’s Scottish Cup, but Brown regardless does not expect that upward momentum to carry on into a fight at the top of the table – instead highlighting the strengths of Aberdeen, who have finished as runners-up to the Bhoys in each of the last two seasons.
“I think Aberdeen after the last couple of seasons,” Brown told Sky Sports.
“They have been exciting to watch, they’ve come to Celtic Park and got points and we have struggled up there so hopefully we can do a little bit better this season.”
Never shy to get involved in the Old Firm derby’s passionate rivalry, Brown said of the fixture’s league return: “We’ll see that when it comes.
“It is the fifth game of the season so we have a few games before that and, as I said, Aberdeen have been great the past couple of seasons and so have Hearts as well, coming up last year, so we expect more of the same from those two.
“It will be good – it is always good, a Rangers-Celtic game, especially in a packed atmosphere but there are lots of huge games for us coming up and that is a way down the line.
“Last season was a little bit disappointing overall but we still got the job done and hopefully it will be a lot like [that] this year as well. We have started off really well in the Champions League qualifiers and hopefully we can push that on into the league.
“This is always the number one priority, it is huge for us to try and get six [titles] in a row. We fought well last year and we deserved it after a long, hard season.”