We said last week a fine litmus test for Rangers’ current state would be facing Hamilton on their own patch, just like Celtic had a week earlier.
Celtic of course won 4-1 having conceded early, but then went a man up and pulled it back to win 4-1.
So how would Rangers fare?
Well, the first half wasn’t immaculate but there was a bit of improvement, and the second half was better yet – and the final score, 4-1, against 11 men, was a reasonably fair reflection of the overall match.
So is this an accurate measurement?
Well, in the cup Celtic faced off against League One Clyde and only won 3-0.
It’s hardly a spectacular win for the millionaires of Parkhead, and Rangers arguably ‘bested’ their result in Hamilton.
We wouldn’t pretend that any two matches are the same, but Rangers didn’t concede first, and didn’t need to be a man up to score four. They also lost their left back and are down a pile of injuries.
What we’re saying is that the overall picture of the past two months isn’t as bleak as it seemed.
Yes, we had a miserable return from the winter break with some poor performances and 5 dropped points, but there is a small sneaking momentum returning and the arrival of Ianis Hagi has definitely boosted the morale a lot.
It’s also worth remembering Rangers have the league title in their own hands – 9 points from St Johnstone (game in hand) and the two Old Firm matches guarantees the league if the impossible happens and both sides win all their other matches.
The mood seems a little better, Rangers fared better than Celtic at Brian Rice’s place, and while form is maybe a little patchy, there’s more to be positive about right now than negative, that’s for sure.
Are Rangers better than Celtic? All we can really say is there will be more twists and turns and 9IAR is by no means certain.