Noel Whelan has suggested Rangers playing in Europe could hand Celtic a significant advantage ahead of Sunday’s derby clash.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds striker claimed the Bhoys will have “learned a valuable lesson” from their 2-1 loss earlier this month.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men knocked the Hoops out in extra time, having also played an extra 30 minutes days before at home to Braga.
Whelan suggested Celtic thought they could take advantage of some “tiredness” at Hampden.
He claimed the Gers’ trip to Leipzig could “play into their hands” this time around. .
“I think tiredness goes out the window when it comes to Glasgow derbies,” Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge.
“It’s about attrition and heart and passion and desire, a little bit of luck on the day. It’s one of those that is completely different game to any other game in the world at times, because of the rivalry between the two.
“Celtic will be happy Rangers played midweek in such a high-intensity game and important game. It can be draining, mentally draining, at times with the travelling as well.
“They’ll have the hope that plays into their hands. They learned a lesson and a valuable one when they got beat by Rangers in extra time in the cup.
“They’ll take that on board, that it’s not going to be as simple as they’re tired and that fatigued. You find that energy in those games and I think Rangers proved that.
“This is a game Rangers need to win or else the title is gone. They need to capitalise in this game. The big games don’t stop coming for Rangers right now. It’s probably not a bad thing because it keeps them focused.”