Rangers and Celtic meet in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup at Ibrox on Sunday.
Celtic caretaker boss John Kennedy has said his comments about the club still being the best team in Scotland have been taken out of context.
Kennedy attracted criticism from Rangers supporters after he appeared to suggest that Celtic remained top of the Scottish football pile despite the Hoops having surrendered their league title to the blue half of the Old Firm.
Rangers defender Borna Barisic, for example, described Kennedy’s comments as the “biggest joke” he has “heard this year”.
“I didn’t hear the comments but I read the interview beforehand and I think that is the biggest joke I heard this year,” said Barisic.
“They didn’t win against us in three games and we are 20 points in front of them, so it is disrespectful a little bit to us. That’s my comment on that.
“You need to be in life always realistic. If someone is better and if someone is 20 points in front of you, you just don’t talk like that. It is disrespectful for all the things we do this season.”
Celtic caretaker boss John Kennedy.
Rangers and Celtic resume hostilities on Sunday in the Scottish Cup fourth round with Steven Gerrard’s ‘Gers having taken seven points from a possible nine across the three league meetings this term.
But Kennedy – who stepped into the Celtic dugout following Neil Lennon’s departure – says his comments about Scottish football’s balance of power were misinterpreted.
“My take on it, and I have seen little comments about this in terms of people taking part of the comment and it’s careless,” Kennedy said via the Daily Record.
“People go and make a story and a headline out of it taking the comment out of context.
“I was referring to the cup game and on our day we can still be the best performing team in the country because we have that level in us. So that’s purely what it is.
“Several times in the last few weeks I have commented on Rangers thoroughly deserving to win the league because they have been the most consistent team.
🗣”I’ve shown full respect for Rangers.”
Celtic interim boss John Kennedy clarifies his comments saying the club has a better team than Scottish Champions Rangers pic.twitter.com/RmLPzgMZeo
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) April 16, 2021
“They have racked up the most points and been the most consistent with their performances.
“I have shown full respect to Rangers for what they have done.”
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