For athletes, the fear of failure is perfectly understandable; no-one, after all, wants to see all their hard work and sacrifices go unrewarded by trophies, medals and records.

Then again, there are some sportsmen who, when on the verge of achieving their ambitions, choke. There is also such a thing as the fear of success and former Rangers and Scotland forward Kris Boyd wonders whether his former club are suffering from that syndrome following their unimpressive results and performances since beating Celtic 2-1 at Parkhead on December 29.

It was a thoroughly merited victory and one which left them two points behind the champions with a game in hand. Steven Gerrard’s team were in the driving seat but their 2020 vision has been blurred while Celtic’s has been focused; consequently, they are now 10 points clear and on course for a ninth consecutive title.

“I don’t know what’s going on the players have lost that confidence, belief and swagger that they had before the winter break," said the Sky Sports analyst. "It compounds it when you see what Celtic are doing. Listen, when you’re under pressure to perform every week it can be difficult but that’s why you need your top players and your characters to stand up and be counted.

“You think everything’s against you – it’s not - when you’re that desperate to win every game and get that that first trophy; you can feel it from the crowd. That’s when you need the big characters. In my time, Barry Ferguson was the best at it. It didn’t matter if he was being booed or hounded, he would still go and take the ball. Steven Gerrard was exactly the same at Liverpool: there were plenty of times when he was up against it but I never saw him shying away from the responsibility.

“Rangers need players to do that now. It’s never going to be plain sailing all the time at a big club and that’s when you need players to stand up and be counted.

"I thought Rangers had found the swagger, the arrogance of 'I'm a Rangers player and can deliver on the big stage'. They've proved they CAN deliver at times but, over the course of a season, leagues are won by coming to Kilmarnock, Motherwell and Tynecastle and walking away with a swagger.

"I think that's been the difference between the two teams since the break. Celtic have rolled up to every ground knowing they are the champions; that's their mindset. Rangers are still chasing. Celtic have the swagger and confidence in what they're doing. Rangers don't.

"A lot of them look scared to lose the ball, which is no good when you're playing with a big team. You're on the front foot, the other team is hemmed in and you need to be prepared to lose it. Since they've come back, they've stopped playing with that freedom.”

Kris Boyd was speaking at the launch of his Charity’s participation in The 2020 Glasgow Kiltwalk. For more information go to The Kris Boyd Charity website.