DEREK JOHNSTONE believes Rangers have no chance of winning the title this season even if they cut Celtic’s lead at the top of the Premiership to just three points.

That incredible scenario could become reality a week on Sunday if the Ibrox side win the home Old Firm derby AND the Parkhead outfit cannot rearrange this week’s postponed home match with Dundee for next midweek.

Rangers currently sit only six points behind their old rivals, who have played one game less, prompting many supporters to hope their team can at least give the league leaders a run for their money for the first time in years,

But Rangers legend Johnstone still cannot see past anything other than Brendan Rodgers leading Celtic to a seventh league championship in a row.

Johnstone said: “I don’t think anyone thought it would be this close, but my mind has not changed over the last few days. Celtic are going to win the league, and I know Rangers could go into the Old Firm game with six points the difference.

“Rangers have asked some questions, that’s for sure, and laid down a marker for next season, but they are not going to win the title.

"It’s all ifs and buts and I just can’t see Rangers beating Celtic over the remaining games.

“Celtic remain too good and while, I am sure, Brendan Rodgers did not expect the gap to be as close as it is to Rangers, and the rest as it goes, he won’t be overly worried.

“He has the best players, the biggest squad, and that will prove to be the difference.

“However, the gap was almost 40 points last season, so this is genuine progress which should not be ignored.”

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright, meanwhile jumped to the defence of his players who were criticised for some of their challenges at McDiarmid Park during Tuesday night’s 4-1 win for Rangers.

Jamie Murphy was left “frustrated and angry” by the Saints' tackling after limping out of the 4-1 win.

The foot knock could jeopardise the on-loan Brighton attacker’s chances of a dream Old Firm debut next weekend.

Graeme Murty flagged-up brassed-off Murphy’s mood after a late tackle from on loan Man United kid Matty Willock forced him off with 13 minutes left of the McDiarmid clash.

But bemused Perth manager Wright insisted it was his players who had cause for complaint.

And he zeroed in on a flailing second half Alfredo Morales elbow which floored Steven Anderson, and a Murphy tackle which forced Wright to replace influential midfielder Murray Davidson.

“I was surprised to read quotes about Rangers being angry with our tackling and claiming it was robust,” said Wright.

“We haven’t been moaning about it. But if anything, we should have complaints, especially for the Morales challenge on Anderson.

“Rangers gave away more fouls than we did. But there wasn’t one bad foul in the game. If anything, I’d have wanted my players to have made more tackles.

“Murray took a knock and had to come off. But he will be fine for Hamilton. He got stood on by Jamie Murphy after a challenge.

“I don’t think it was anything other than accidental, but his foot has landed on Murray’s knee and he took a sore one.

“It’s unfortunate when players pick up knocks, but these things happen.”