In the past 24 hours we have seen Rangers confirm the signing of the biggest name we have since Croatia’s Nikica Jelavic, and maybe even further back, while over at the East End Celtic confirmed ex-Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers as their new coach.
Whatever fans of both teams think of the other side, and my goodness have we not heard an opinion or two one way or another, you have to admit it has made next season’s Premiership the most interesting in many years.
And by many years, I even include pre-admin Rangers.
Celtic have, to their credit, secured a real name as their manager, and one who came within a ‘slip’ of winning the EPL title. Meanwhile Rangers have managed Scottish football’s biggest player signing for many, many years in the guise of the venerable Mr Barton, who probably becomes the SPFL’s best player without even having put his boots on for us yet.
Add to this the obvious spice of the return of Rangers overall to Scotland’s top flight, and it equals the most intriguing SPL for a long time, with subplots a-plenty.
Will Barton be a calming leader who takes Rangers up a level, or will he revert to the combustible stereotype of his earlier career? Will Rodgers regain the stock he significantly lost at the tail end of his tenure at Anfield and turn Celtic into something resembling their noughties form under the likes of Martin O’Neill? Will Mark Warburton cope with the step up to the SPL and the changes he will need to adapt to in order to thrive? Will Barton and Scott Brown have a tussle during next season’s Old Firm clashes? Who will prevail?
These are only some of the competitive subplots currently brewing nicely.
Then we have the incredible squad turnover at Ibrox over the past few weeks.
Out has gone Nicky Clark, Nicky Law, Gedion Zelalem, Dominic Ball and David Templeton, and in have come Barton and ex-Liverpool midfielder Jordan Rossiter, with heavy speculation linking Croatian playmaker Niko Kranjcar with a move to Govan as well.
We also expect Dean Shiels to follow the departures with his contract due to expire at the end of next month, although Cammy Bell’s position is less clear.
Meanwhile we must not forget the former Accrington Stanley pair of Matt Crooks and Josh Windass who are due to link up at Ibrox imminently.
It all makes up for an SPL people are suddenly interested in again. Obviously, this is pure and simply because Rangers are back in it. No more. No less. The sponsorship deals, the improved calibre of signings; none would be possible if Rangers were not back at the top tier, so Scottish football owes Mark Warburton, Frank McParland and David Weir a huge token of gratitude along with the board for getting them.
Somehow, though, I doubt any appreciation will be forthcoming!
But nevertheless, we have an SPL to actually care about for once – the Old Firm is back, Barton will be in it, and Mark Warburton and Brendan Rodgers will lock horns.
Let the games begin.