Furious former Rangers star Maurice Ross has accused Giorgos Giakoumakis of being classless as he told the Celtic ace to pipe down over his premature champions claim.
The Greek Parkhead star rifled off a hat-trick to gun down Dundee on Sunday before warning his Ibrox rivals the Hoops squad are better in every department.
And Giakoumakis went further, declaring his side are destined to wrestle back their crown after opening up a three point lead at the top.
But those words stunned ex-Gers hero Ross.
His old side lost more ground after slipping up at Tannadice but the former Scotland full-backs reckons Gers will now have extra incentive to chase down their Old Firm foes during the final 11 games of the campaign after pinning Giakoumakis’ outspoken claims up on the dressing room wall.
Ross – who won two league titles and four cups during his Ibrox playing days – told Record Sports : “I think he needs to be a bit more humble.
“If I was in the Rangers dressing room, those comments would just be fuel for me.
“Celtic were better than Rangers two weeks ago, that we can all agree on. I think the Rangers players would agree on that as well.
“But Celtic have been top of the league for about 10 minutes this season.
“A wee bit of humility and a wee bit of respect would be a better way of going about your business.
“But there’s no doubt this will be used as fuel by that Rangers squad.
“Celtic are a good side, as are Rangers, so this title race is going to go to the wire.
“I think it will come down to the two remaining Old Firm matches if I’m honest.
“But as for those comments, that’s a lack of class if you ask me.”
Hoops boss Ange Postecoglou is sticking by his one-game-at-a-time mantra despite having masterminded a nine-point swing that has propelled Celtic to the head of the Premiership queue.
Ross has been impressed not just by the way the Aussie coach has remolded a squad that lost last year’s title by 25 points into this season’s current table-toppers, but also by his demeanour throughout that rebuild.
But the Cowdenbeath manager reckons Postecoglou will be tearing his hair out after learning Giakoumakis had lashed at their main challengers from across the city.
“Ange Postecoglou has been a class act since he came to Celtic,” said Ross.
“He’s very humble, very personable. He’s a genuinely normal, decent guy and he will be affronted by that statement from Giakoumakis.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if that laddie has been dragged in to see the manager first thing in the morning.
“Ange will be saying, ‘What you doing, mate?’
“Celtic have been good recently and we must give them credit for that.
“But you’ve been top of the table for a week, mate! Come on, settle petals!
“I’d be saying, ‘What are you doing? This is not how you behave at a top club. We’re humble, we win with respect and we lose with respect’.”
Celtic are out in front but it wasn’t so long ago Gers were the pole-sitters with a six-point lead.
And Ross recons the outcome of both side’s European clashes against Borussia Dortmund and Bodo/Glimt could have a major bearing on where the title ends up.
He said: “It’s been a brilliant league this year. Both teams are at the stage where they can say they’re very good sides.
“Rangers might progress in Europe, so might Celtic, and I think that might have a bearing on how the rest of the championship goes.
“It may come down to who can recover best.
“Yeah Rangers will be on a high after their win in Germany but to beat a team like Dortmund, you have to expend a massive amount of energy.
“Rangers went toe-to-toe with one of the biggest teams in Europe and had full control because of how much they ran and pressed.
“So to come back to Tannadice and draw on Sunday is tough but even though the result was not what they’d have wanted, the performance was excellent and Rangers had enough chances to win two or three games.”