ALL good things must come to an end. Archie Knox knows that as well as anyone.

Having written their names in the record books and equalled Celtic’s feat of nine successive league titles, there was, it seemed, nothing that could stop Walter Smith’s side making it ten back in 1998. History, of course, tells a different story, though.

It was a season where the momentum shifted as Smith announced his pending departure and Paul Gascoigne was sold. In the January, a 2-0 Old Firm defeat had given Celtic just the boost they needed.

In the end, it proved too much for Rangers. Knox admits the uncertainty ‘beat’ the defending champions that season as an era ended on the ultimate disappointment.

More than 20 years on, Rangers are hoping history repeats itself and now it is Celtic who find themselves with the weight of expectation on their shoulders as their Glasgow rivals look to upset the odds.

From a position of total dominance over the last two seasons, Brendan Rodgers’ side now have questions to answer after the Light Blues earned a derby win that took them level on points at the top of the table.

It was a victory that undoubtedly gave Steven Gerrard and his players a huge shot in the arm and the Ibrox crowd are daring to dream ahead of the second half of the campaign.

“I can’t say it would be a miracle but it would be a phenomenal achievement if they were to manage it and they obviously think they can,” Knox said of a potential title win.

“The signing of Jermain Defoe and Steven Davis brings in a lot of experience which is a big thing and it’s a big challenge for them.

“They will be seeing Rangers are level on points, albeit having played a game more than Celtic, with two Old Firm games to come.

“Rangers have had set-backs against teams they should have beaten and we need to see how they can help improve in that aspect.

“Everyone will be looking at it that way [that it would be biggest since nine-in-a-row]. The fans see that creeping up and there will be all sorts of panic setting in if Celtic win another title.

“As far as Rangers are concerned then the sooner they get back to seeing their name as champions that will be their aim.

“But Steven Gerrard has come a helluva long way in a short period of time. Not all the signings have been particularly successful but at least he’s been out and made changes.”

When Gerrard overhauled his squad during the close season, everyone at Ibrox was right to be more optimistic about the campaign ahead as the 38-year-old looked to make an immediate impact in the dugout.

But few would have imagined that Rangers would produce the performance they did in the second Old Firm clash last weekend and be heading into the winter break with only goal difference keeping them off top spot in the standings.

Knox was one of those that could only see another Celtic success before a ball was kicked this term. But he is well aware of the bumps in the road that even the most finely tuned machines can encounter.

“I just thought that Celtic had the better players at this particular time,” he said. “They have had a few setbacks. They have won two Trebles, which is a fantastic achievement, but it’s still difficult to keep that going.

“Even when we had the nine-in-a-row teams, when it was over and done with, one season it was five games, I think they lost three of the last five. So the edge goes off. It will be putting the edge back on Celtic and Rangers have got to have that as well.

“I put a wee bit of [the Old Firm game] down to Celtic playing that game at Aberdeen. They number got started. Even in our time, I have never seen a Celtic team that didn’t put on a bigger fight.

“They never really got into the game at Ibrox. You were waiting for it. Even after half-time, you are saying ‘when are they going to get started?’ but they never really got going.”

That Old Firm win – earned thanks to Ryan Jack’s first half strike – was a statement of intent from Gerrard’s side and the Ibrox boss has followed that up in recent days.

Davis and Defoe are the first two arrivals of the January window as Rangers have added strength and depth for the second half of the season.

Hopes have risen, but expectations haven’t necessarily followed in some quarters. For Knox, the pressure remains firmly on Celtic’s shoulders.

“I don’t think [it would be seen as a missed opportunity for Rangers],” he said. “Real dyed in the wool Rangers supporters are always going to think their team are going to win no matter what the circumstance is.

“That’s just the way it is. But the realists would say that they’ve already achieved a lot more than most people thought everybody thought they were going to achieve. They haven’t achieved anybody yet but at least they are making a fist of it.”

“I’d think is certainly [pressure] there [on Celtic]. The evidence was there at the Old Firm game.

“In the previous 12 games they hadn’t lost. So finally losing one will be a realisation for Celtic of what they’ve got on their hands.

“But the big teams have to respond to that. It was the same going back to all our yesterdays.

“Whenever there was a challenge you had to face it and be capable of overcoming it. That’s the way Celtic will be looking at it.”

*Archie Knox will join Rangers legends Colin Stein and Willie Johnston in Glasgow this month for ‘An Evening With Barcelona Bears’. The event will be held on Thursday, January 10 at the Royal Concert Hall. Tickets cost £20 and VIP cost £50. Call 0141 353 8000 or visit