Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Have Celtic just handed Rangers 55?

With Rodgers 99% confirmed new Leicester boss, Rangers now find an unexpected twist in this season’s title race.

We said only a few days ago how 55 was not going to happen this season, and that we were happy with second place as long as it was a clear and significant gap over third.

But at that point Brendan Rodgers was remaining Celtic manager until 2021.

The goalposts just dramatically shifted once Leicester fired yet another coach – Rodgers was a shoe-in for the gig and whatever his own motivations, it’s going to be confirmed imminently.

Which leaves a complete shift in Scottish football. It is not inaccurate to say Steven Gerrard has been much more of a darling within the media since his appointment than Rodgers has been – already there is a subtle change in how the media have been reporting both managers, and with Rodgers departing down south Gerrard now finds himself facing likely Neil Lennon, who was never exactly the most media-popular chap in Scotland.

But, that, all that is for another day, what about on the pitch?

Well, the wheels of Rodgers’ Celtic have been loosening badly this season – yes, they remain comfortably clear of second, but with December’s Old Firm result still fresh in everyone’s memory, Rangers have managed to cobble together a bit of a run over 2019. Two bad results, yes, but otherwise a decent chain of points this year has seen Rangers gain some consistency while Rodgers’ Celtic just simmered along.

As we alluded to earlier, there are two Old Firm matches left – that’s six points. Rangers don’t have the league in their own hands yet, even with both of those won, but one slip from Celtic, assuming none from Rangers (absolutely zero guarantee of that) and Rangers win the league.

A lot of fans didn’t give up on 55 this season, but a lot of fans also didn’t envisage Rodgers abandoning his post – it’s changed things.

A Celtic without their seasoned manager and bringing back Lennon as a stopgap is a Celtic Rangers can beat.

They have no windows to bring in his players, beyond free agents, so he has to take Rodgers’ squad and make them play for him, having managed to get himself borderline fired from every job he’s had – always ‘mutual consent’.

The point? If Rangers have had a better opportunity to snatch 55 in the past seven years we’d love to know about it.

This really may have changed things.

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