USA international Carlos Bocanegra believes that Celtic will win the Scottish Premier League by Christmas with arch-rivals Rangers relegated following financial mismanagement.
Bocanegra, 33, spent the 2011-12 season at Rangers, but now finds himself watching from afar as Scottish football struggles to deal with the fall-out of the Ibrox club's liquidation.
"Celtic are going to win the league in December. It's frustrating," Bocanegra said. "Sometimes, I don't understand. The people in the league, they want to punish (Rangers) for wrongdoing, but then they are just hurting themselves.
"Hopefully, they don't put them down there (to the Third Division) because I think that is going to set Scottish football back so far. Rangers is such a big institution, such a big club. I love going to work there every day. It is seriously the coolest club that I have ever been a part of."
Bocanegra is free to leave the Ibrox outfit under the terms of his wage-cut agreement signed last season and is reportedly close to a possible return to the MLS after eight years away.
He will return to train with the newco Rangers this Friday, but has not committed his future to the club and does not blame players for choosing to leave.
He added: "A lot of the fans are now starting to turn on the players because that is all they have left to get angry at.
"It is just a very tough and unfortunate situation. Anybody who is leaving Rangers or staying there, it's just a personal decision for those guys. You can't blame anybody."