Although it feels like the SPL wrapped up only just a few weeks ago, the 2022-23 season is already underway in earnest. And with the preliminary fixtures set and the first-round complete, things are starting to get pretty serious!
For the Rangers in particular, this will be a hotly anticipated season. The hard-working Glaswegians managed to secure victory against Heart of Midlothian in last season’s final.
This has helped to elevate expectations for the Glaswegian side coming into this season. And with the preliminary fixtures just confirmed, eagle-eyed sports betting fans are already scoping out their wagers to make for this season.
If you are one of the many eager punters locking in those early odds on online bookmaker sites, you might have found yourself wondering whether or not Rangers are likely to retain their Scottish Cup title this season.
With this question in mind, let’s take a look at what their chances are looking like, as the 2022-23 season is just about to kick off!
Rangers 2021-22 season
One of the factors that has filled Rangers fans and football pundits alike with so much hope is how well they performed last season.
The 2021-22 season was the 142nd season of competitive football played by Rangers, and also proved to be one of their best.
Rangers played a total of 65 competitive matches in the last year, which saw them reach the Europa League Finals, as well as winning the Scottish cup.
During the Scottish Cup, the Glaswegian side managed to put in some really solid performances, which speaks to the depth of talent in the club at the moment.
Going into the 2022 Scottish Cup final, the Rangers had a total of 33 final wins behind them. However, the 2022 season was their first appearance in the final since 2016, and if they came out on top, it would have been their first Scottish Cup win since 2009.
These stats helped to boost the confidence of their opponents, with the Heart of Midlothian side having most recently won the Scottish Cup title in 2020.
However, there were also many unknowns going into the final, particularly as the two sides had only faced each other in finals games on four previous occasions: 1903, 1976, 1996 and 1998. On three out of four of these occasions, the Rangers took the win.
The victory against Heart of Midlothian was by no means easy, with the game eventually going into extra time. Despite this, the Rangers eventually prevailed, thanks to two goals cinched in extra time (94’ and 97’) by Ryan Jack and Scott Wright.
Will this translate to the 2022-23 season?
In terms of how this success will translate to the upcoming season of the Scottish Cup, it is not yet clear how things will pan out.
In terms of the raw statistics, we should keep in mind that Rangers are the most successful club in Scottish football. And over the course of their long history, the Glaswegians have won the Scottish League title a record 55 times, the Scottish Cup 34 times and the Scottish League Cup 27 times.
Despite this excellent record, winning the Scottish Cup twice in a row is by no means an easy feat.
However, of the teams contesting the Scottish Cup title, Rangers have one of the best records of any team for winning championship finals twice in a row. This includes winning the Scottish Cup twice in a row on six occasions previously, as well as having won the final three times in a row on three occasions.
With this in mind, there is a good chance that the Rangers could come out on top in the 2022-23 season.
Although the statistics aren’t necessarily weighing against them, we must balance this against the fact that Celtic have been having a good run in recent years. And over the course of the last decade, Celtic have participated in far more Scottish Cup finals than the Rangers have.
Most notably, Celtic won the Scottish Cup final four times in a row between 2017 and 2020, which is an incredibly dominant run by anyone’s standards.
With this in mind, it is clear that the Rangers have their work cut out for them in the upcoming Scottish Cup season.
Rangers in the Champions League: can they defy expectations?
Looking beyond the Scottish championship, however, an arguably more exciting possibility for the Rangers comes off the back of their recent qualification for the Champion’s League.
Although this is certainly not the first time that Rangers have made it to the group stages of what is arguably football’s most prestigious tournament, it is the first time the Glaswegians have done so since 2010.
This came off the back of a tidy victory against a wasteful looking PSV. Despite only scoring one goal in the match, Rangers were able to secure a 3-2 victory on aggregate. As a result, Rangers will join Celtic in this year’s group stages of the Champion’s League – the first time this has happened since the 2007/08 tournament.
With these recent successes in mind, it is clear that Rangers have a lot of momentum behind them already this season. Whether or not they will be able to make good on all of this potential, however, remains to be seen.