WALTER SMITH fears Rangers’ long winless run against Celtic could have a detrimental psychological impact on the Light Blues squad.

The Gers have drawn two and lost seven of their last nine Old Firm clashes following their penalty shoot-out victory in 2016.

Graeme Murty’s side went into the derby clash at Ibrox this month aiming to move within touching distance of Celtic at the top of the Premiership standings.

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But the 3-2 reverse ended their faint title hopes and now Brendan Rodgers’ side stand between them and a return to Hampden for the Scottish Cup final.

Smith said: “Rangers would have hoped they could have got second place last season then this season kick on in a better fashion to challenge Celtic – that’s not to take anything away from Aberdeen, just from a Rangers perspective. That would be sensible way to look at it.

“In my first time as Rangers manager, Celtic did not always finish second but the games against them were always major games in the calendar.

“It was always going to be case in the situation they are in of beating Celtic every now and again rather than regularly.

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“But the number of matches they have struggled to do so might have a bigger psychological effect than the last defeat if you like – in recent years Mark Warburton’s win is the only they have had, on penalties.

“They have to get back to start winning games against Celtic on a more regular basis.

“In saying that they have had a change of management in mid-season and are having to bed in half a team of new players so I don’t think anything has happened this season to make Celtic too concerned about what’s happened.

“I hate to use these two words but the natural order has been that Celtic having been winning championships. To reverse that Rangers have got to get stability and an influx of a better level of player.

“When you mention the psychological aspect of it before I think getting a win would be a good thing for them.

“The previous game at Ibrox would have been a good time for them to get a win.”