record of 26 wins, eight draws and four defeats. That gave Gers fans cause for
optimism going into the 2016/17 season as Celtic were dominant but fallible.
They had enjoyed a stranglehold over the top flight since Rangers were expelled
from the league and banished to the Irn Bru Third Division following 2012’s
administration, but they had not had a proper rival. The league had always been
two-horsed, ever since Alex Ferguson left Aberdeen in the 1980s, and the other
horse finally got back into the Premiership following years in the wilderness.
With proper opposition they could be beaten.
But instead the opposite has proved true: Celtic have
stopped sleepwalking through seasons and simply going through the motions. The
presence of Rangers has given them the jolt they needed. Signing Brendan
Rodgers, who nearly won the EPL at Liverpool, was a real coup, and signings
like Scott Sinclair and Moussa
Dembele have taken them on to new levels. Nineteen wins, one draw and no
defeats from their first 20 games is worrying form for Rangers and they even
made a decent fist of their Champions League campaign, securing a draw with Pep
Guardiola’s Man City.
the lines on Betonline and other sportsbook betting sites shows that Celtic
are 1/1000 favourites to win the league, while Rangers are all the way out at
100/1. That makes sense because Gers are a good 22 points behind and have no
chance of closing the gap on their fierce rivals.
the league on their first season back in the top division. Even for a club of
Gers’ stature, having won the league many more times than any other team,
Celtic included, it would have been a phenomenal achievement. Perhaps second
was the best they could hope for. If they finish second it will still be a
massive achievement, angry as that will make sections of the fanbase. Gers are
locked into a battle with Aberdeen for second place but should win it and are
the 8/13 favourites to do so, with Aberdeen back at 6/4.
not be good enough. Gers need to make it a two-horse race again come
2017/18. How much of the gulf in class between the two sides could have been
closed thanks to better transfer business by the club?
spending was intelligent. How they managed to sign Dembele, one of the
hottest strikers in the Championship south of the border, for half a million
beggars belief. Rangers ended up with the perennially-injured Jordan Rossiter,
who cost £250,000 and has barely played. Signing ‘veterans’ like Matt Gilks and
Philippe Senderos is surely not the answer.
Leipzig for Barrie McKay and spread it out by investing across the squad? If
Gers got £6+ million for him, they could theoretically buy 12 players of the
calibre of Dembele and really go for it next season. Or six players for £1
million each, or it could go on wages for some free transfer signings from the
scouting network scours the continent for future stars rather than washed-up
veterans, it could pay dividends. Leicester signed Riyad Mahrez for £400,000
and he won them the EPL. And the signing of Scott Sinclair is another blueprint
for Rangers to follow. Players like Tom Cleverly have moved on free transfers
recently and for players like that, joining Rangers could offer them a real
chance of silverware.