Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Leon Balogun knows what Rangers need to end Celtic dominance – Sky Sports


Rangers start the 2024/25 season away to Hearts on August 3, live on Sky Sports
By Alison Conroy & Mark Benstead
Friday 28 June 2024 09:46, UK
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Rangers defender Leon Balogun said they will work on “weak spots” to ensure they can cope with the pressure of a title race.
The Ibrox side overturned Celtic’s seven-point lead in the Scottish Premiership last season before a run of poor results saw their Old Firm rivals retain the Scottish Premiership trophy.
Balogun, who has agreed a new one-year deal, said they have to be ready to cope with the challenge ahead.
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“We need to have a shift in mentality and build more confidence,” the Nigeria international told Sky Sports News.
“We need to build that through pre-season, but that’s a process that we need to work on every day by reputation mainly and gaining confidence in what you do.
“Under the manager we’ve seen what he was able to do in a very short period of time.
“Given he now has a full pre-season to work with us to implement his ideas, that’s one factor. Apart from that, it’s what we’re about every year and the quality that’s in the team. It’s about ticking a few boxes and working on a few weak spots that we had last season and make sure they go away.”
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Rangers failed to beat Celtic in the league last season, losing three and drawing one, and Balogun knows that needs to change if they are to win their first title since 2021.
“There was a title race and I think it’s fair to say both teams weren’t at their best throughout the whole season and that made it tight in the end, but they had that edge over us and that’s what we need to focus on specifically,” he added.
“It might be pressure, it might be a mentality thing or it might be confidence but whatever it is we have to make sure we get it out of the system in pre-season. The earlier the better.
“If you want to be the champion you need to beat that team that is your rival. That was the stumble stone last season and we need to make sure it doesn’t happen this season.”
First up for Rangers is Hearts at Tynecastle Park on August 3, live on Sky Sports, a match Balogun believes will show how ready they are to challenge at the top.
“I think it’s a game you have to prepare for really well. Hearts are normally one of the stronger teams in the league so I think it’s a perfect start to see where we are at that point in time.
“We have something to make up for and we want to make a good start to the season, not an easy one necessarily.”
Sky Sports – From 2024/25 up to 60 Scottish Premiership games will be available across Sky Sports’ flagship channels, including Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Main Event, plus at least five SWPL matches.
Sky Sports News – Running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Scottish football fans can enjoy Sky Sports News’ (channel 409) rolling editorial coverage of the Premiership and SWPL throughout the season.
Sky Sports Digital – Follow all the latest from Scottish football across SkySports.com and app, including exclusive features and interviews, plus dedicated live blog coverage, in-game clips from matches live on Sky Sports and free highlights.
Sky Sports Social – Alongside coverage and visibility for the league across all Sky Sports’ main social media channels, the bespoke X page @ScotlandSky will continue to be the home of all Scottish football content on Sky Sports.
Highlights show – Tune in for a dedicated round-up from the cinch Premiership every week on Sky Sports Football.
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