Something absolutely extraordinary is on the cusp of occurring in Scottish football, something even the most optimistic Rangers fans simply wouldn’t have expected at the start of the season.
Should Rangers manage all three points on Saturday against Craig Levein’s out of form Hearts, the gap to Celtic will be a genuinely stunning 6 points with Brendan Rodgers’ men taking a pretty tough trip to the north of Scotland to face Derek McInnes’ Aberdeen the following day knowing they must win to restore the gap.
This has implications of a seismic nature. The gulf between Celtic and Rangers has been incredibly reduced to 9 points in the past seven days, and if that were to be cut by a further 3 points, or even two, it would send shockwaves over to the green and white portion of Glasgow.
Sure, under ‘normal’ circumstances either Old Firm side would be a bit disappointed to be 6 points behind in the table in late February, but this is a new era with a completely rebuilt Rangers side who arguably still are some way off the final product, and as such we can’t judge the implications in the same way we did pre-2012.
But facts are facts. There’s not a single Celtic fan who will be happy with their multimillion pound ex-Champions League current Europa League team being only 6 points ahead of Rangers, and the derision our club (and this site) is receiving from their fansites along with Hibs et al is further evidence of the genuine concern from such quarters and the growing realisation that the domestic gap between the two clubs is reducing.
It is quite, quite incredible to say this, and we simply cannot believe we are uttering these words, but should Rangers close the gap to 6 points come the end of play at Pittodrie, it is game on for the Premier League title.
We admit Celtic’s own deterioration this season has aided Rangers a great deal, as quite simply they’ve been dreadful. Rangers, for our part, have been far from impeccable too, especially at Ibrox.
But for the first time since late autumn 2011, Scotland is on the cusp of having a genuine title race again – and for Rangers to actually win the thing, to secure 55 after what we’ve been through would qualify as arguably the most stunning achievement in Scottish football history.
Of course, we’re a little ahead of ourselves. As yet it is a 9 point gap and that may well be how it fares come late Sunday afternoon. This might be the closest we get this season.
We cannot allow ourselves too much presumption. But we can always envisage possibility, and if recent trends of the past two months continue, Rangers will be, astonishingly, truly in the hunt for the Premier League title.
And on that note, imagine the fallout at Celtic Park if Rangers do it – if Rangers’ modestly-assembled squad filled with loanees and ‘rejects’, as Sutton likes to label them, manages to do the unthinkable and win the SPL, the meltdown from all things green and white will be like nothing we have ever seen before.
And, to paraphrase Kevin Keegan;
“I tell you honestly, I will love it if that happens, love it”