FORMER Celtic striker Charlie Nicholas admits he got it rong when he boldly predicted Steven Gerrard would rebuff Aston Villa's approach last week - but fears key players at Ibrox could now be running down their contracts to secure moves elsewhere.

Gerrard was announced as Dean Smith's successor at Villa Park last week, bringing the curtain down on a successful three-and-a-half year stint in Glasgow's south side.

Writing in his Express column, Nicholas held his hands up after previously insisting that Gerrard would knock back the approach from the Premier League club.

While he feels the Liverpool great's departure could heap presure on the Premiership champions, he stopped short of tipping Ange Postecoglou's Celtic for the title.

And Nicholas fears the likes of Connor Goldson and Alfredo Morelos could leave Ibrox for nothing when their contracts expire.

He wrote: "Whoever comes in as the new boss, there might be players he doesn't fancy - and then you have guys like Connor Goldson and Alfredo Morelos, who appear to be running down their contracts.

Glasgow Times:

"The new man will have some big decisions to make ahead of the January transfer window.

"Developments at Ibrox will have delighted the green and white side of Glasgow, of course.

"I'm not saying Celtic are now favourites for the title, but if they can keep winning matches and put the pressure on the new Rangers manager then it will be interesting to see how it pans out.

"And, yes, last week I did say Gerrard wouldn't leave Rangers for crisis club Aston Villa. Well, I got that wrong!

"Gerrard's exit took me by surprise because a lot of people who know him well have told me he's a loyal guy.

"At the same time, I could see the temptation of the English Premier League.

"I saw Gerrard's interview and he looked excited about getting to Villa.

"It'll be interesting to see if he can pull them up the Premiership table."