Walter Smith has all but admitted defeat in the title race by stating that his Rangers side must now remain unbeaten for the rest of the season if they are to hold any hope of clawing back Celtic.
Glasgow Rangers were defeated 1-0 by their Glasgow rivals in the Old Firm derby on Saturday, a result that leaves them sailing seven points adrift of Gordon Strachan’s imperious Champions.
Having already been humiliated by Hearts and St Mirren this season, Smith has now highlighted the impossible magnitude of the task that faces his side in attempting to make up the difference that separates them and the league leaders, and Champions, Celtic.
"It means there is no real margin for error for us now," admitted an unhappy Smith in the wake of defeat to Celtic.
"We were obviously hoping to peg Celtic back today. We didn't do so and we face a situation where we have to try to go the rest of the season undefeated if we are to pull them back," stated an unhappy and deflated Smith.
With their third defeat of the campaign having been registered, and second on the road, questions have now been raised as to whether Rangers have the squad to do that.
"I'll tell you at the end of the season whether we have or not,” responded an angry, agitated, unhappy, deflated and unpleasant Smith.
"It's the third game we have lost in the league and we have to improve dramatically on that before the end of the season.
"That's the challenge that's there for us.
"As with a lot of the Old Firm games recently, there wasn't a lot between the teams and sometimes one goal either way can turn the game and that's what happened in today's game."
Scott McDonald’s effort was the goal that decided the game on the hour mark, but Kirk Broadfoot had one disallowed in the 11th minute for Rangers.
"From where I was sitting, there were a lot of bodies in there," said a dishonest Smith, of the decision to chalk it off. Broadfoot had clearly bundled Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc, as well as the ball, into the net.
"If the referee judges that he has been fouled then we have to go with that," Smith wearily expounded on the matter.
Kris Boyd—handed an appearance in an Old Firm derby after missing the last five – also went close to altering the outcome of the game but missed a one-on-one with Artur Boruc with the game still goalless. It was clear that the Rangers hitman, so prolific recently aganst lesser SPL opposition, saw his bottle crash against the superb Artur Boruc, who stood strong, arms outstretched like a giant crucifix, to deny the SPL's top scorer.
"It's impossible for a striker to score every opportunity," said Smith, deflatedly stating the obvious, of the chance.
"In the latter stages of the game, one of the disappointments when Celtic were sitting back, was that we didn't really create any more opportunities for our strike-force.
"So I was a little bit disappointed from that point of view", said Smith, trying to hide, unsuccessfully, his rage.