It has been a long nine years for Rangers fans, who have been forced to watch on as Celtic dominate the landscape of Scottish football. However, this season has offered the Gers a chance to get a foothold back on the top-flight.
It has been a compelling start to the SPL season thus far, and the top two are only separated by goal difference. Celtic currently remains at the summit, but Gers only trail the current champions by three goals. It is shaping up to be one of the most intense title races that Scottish football has seen for many seasons.
However, Gers should feel confident that they can compete with Celtic, and there are punters that are gambling on Steven Gerrard’s side taking the crown. But, what will be the most important aspects that need to go Rangers’ way for them to be crowned champions of Scotland for a 55th time?
Keeping Star Players
With the January transfer window fast approaching, the most important thing for Gerrard would be managing to keep hold of their star players. There was interest in James Tavernier in the summer from West Bromwich Albion. Alfredo Morelos will also be a player that club around Europe will be looking at, since he is a striker with enough pace to compete with a stallion horse in the Kentucky Derby race.
Both of these stars are vitally important to this Gers side, and the loss of either would reduce the chances that they have of winning the title this campaign. Morelos has been a star for Rangers for many seasons now, but the problem surrounding his temperament has finally been resolved.
The Colombian has already scored nine goals in 13 SPL appearances this season, while his tally of 11 goals in 12 Europa League fixtures also shows how he is excelling on the European stage. His disciplinary record is much improved as he has only picked up two yellow cards so far this season. Keeping their 23-year-old striker would be essential for the Gers.
Compared to last season, the Gers are keeping the pace in the title race. In the 2018-19 season, Celtic ran away from Rangers after the opening ten games because of the amount of points that Gerrard’s side were dropping against lesser opposition. Not just that, but they also lost the Old Firm at Celtic Park.
However, this campaign has been a different story entirely. They have only lost once in the opening ten league games. That loss was once again in the Old Firm, but this time it was at Ibrox. It was Rangers worst performance of the season, but they have quickly bounced back from that setback to sustain their form. They went on to win eight of their next nine fixtures, and have also shown solid form in the Europa League.
If Rangers go on to win the league title, then this start that they have made would have been the confidence builder that showed they were capable of doing it. The biggest change this season has been their ability to pick up points on the road.
They dropped points at Aberdeen, Motherwell and Livingston in their opening ten league games last season, while they have beaten all three of those sides in their opening ten games this season.
Of course, it is still early days in the SPL this season, and Rangers will know that they have a long way to go if they are to realise their dreams of winning the league title for the first time since 2011. But, the initial signs are good, and with Gerrard, at the helm, there is newfound confidence from the fans that this could be their season.