There is no doubt about it. Not now, not any more.
When Rangers yesterday strode to the Tony Macaroni Arena and dispatched Livi with complete ease and borderline procession, it was the biggest statement of this season so far.
Some recent weeks ago Celtic went to the same venue, following a routine enough win over Romanians Cluj on the Thursday, and lost by a stunning 0-2 to Gary Holt’s side. The home team more than matched Neil Lennon’s visitors and a huge 3 points were dropped.
Yesterday Rangers went to Almondvale on the back of a gigantic win over regular Portuguese champions Porto, barely changed much in the way of personnel, and absolutely coasted their way to a deserved win by comparison.
If nothing else summed up Rangers’ title credentials, this did.
Rangers this season are now matching Celtic, fighting toe to toe, laying gloves, and have the quality of squad overall for it not to be a short-term Aberdeen-esque or Killie-esque burst.
Steven Gerrard has overseen a transformation from soft-centred also-rans who just didn’t have the guts, balls or sheer ability to take on Parkhead and also dropped points to the diddie sides into a hard-centred winning machine that beats the best of Europe as easily as it does the worst of Scotland.
Rangers are now delivering a real and sustained shout at 55. We’re deep into November now, well over a quarter of the season gone, and Celtic aren’t their customary 5-10 points ahead as they usually are.
No, it’s absolute deadlock with Celtic only ahead by a solitary goal.
It’s safe to say December is massive – yes, Rangers absolutely fudged the opening Old Firm match of the season, but the 7th of next month is a giant follow up – win, and not only do Rangers avenge that diabolical performance on the 1st of September, but we win our first top-flight silverware since 2011.
And that’s utterly massive. We’ve won trophies, but nothing serious, not in the lower leagues.
But back in the SPL, fighting at the summit of the game in this country, Rangers proved yesterday beyond all doubt that under Steven Gerrard we’re the real deal now.
We can criticise bits and bobs and dislike certain individual things – we are all emotional football fans and we all have the right to opinion. But the results and performances overall are absolutely delivering under Gerrard, under the squad he effectively built.
And with only weeks to go to Xmas, top of the table and a trophy going into 2020 would be a stunning achievement.
We are starting to believe.