New boss Michael Beale undoubtedly has an almighty task on his hands if he is to wrest the Scottish Premier League trophy from Celtic’s grip. Four points adrift at the close of play in 2021/22, the Bears already found themselves with nine points to make up as the sides headed into the break for the World Cup. They may be up against it, but aren’t out of it just yet, with Rangers still attracting support from fans assessing the best New Betting Offers UK.
Stranger things have certainly happened, and with the clean slate and fresh start represented by the beginning of the Beale era, there are certainly causes for optimism that it may be Rangers who are hitting the headlines come the end of the season.
Beale has at least ticked the first box on the immediate agenda in leading Rangers to an – admittedly topsy turvy – 3-2 success over Hibs. That was an expected but much-needed success, which at least maintains the status quo heading into the stream of fixtures over the festive period.
So, with that first win under his belt, what aspects need to come together for Rangers to be crowned champions for the 56th time, and extend their all-time lead over Celtic to four?
Old Firm Clashes Crucial as Ever
The first, and most obvious reason to believe, is of course the fact that there are still three Old Firm clashes remaining this season – two of which come at Ibrox.
With that in mind, Rangers still effectively have matters in their own hands – win those three fixtures and that nine-point gap will be erased in three fell swoops. Three wins would also make some indent into the 17-goal deficit in the goal difference department, and there are still plenty of other games remaining to turn that around.
Beale doesn’t have to wait long to have his first crack at the Bhoys, with the next big one coming up on the 2nd of January. Get the job done in that one, and it’s not difficult to imagine the Light Blues riding a wave of momentum into Celtic Park on Saturday 8th April. The date for the fourth and final battle following the seasonal split is yet to be announced, but crucially it does come at Ibrox.
More Luck with Injuries
Underwhelming as the start to the season has been for Rangers, they have been dealt a particularly poor hand in terms of injuries and missing players compared to Celtic. Granted a fair rub of the green, that disparity should even out over the remainder of the campaign.
Rangers don’t quite have a clean bill of health just yet, but things are at least beginning to look up. Alfredo Morelos is back, whilst the return to fitness of the influential Connor Goldson should also come as a significant boost.
The importance of a fully fit squad from which to select certainly isn’t lost on Beale, who emphasised the importance of the ability, “….to recover the injuries that we have. Last week we probably had an XI unavailable as strong as the XI we had on the pitch.”, and “Now, if they are all available it makes a strong Rangers here in training and then into the games, but at the moment we are more vulnerable than we have been in many a year.” Given that situation, Rangers activities in the January transfer window may prove more critical than ever.
Despite all of the obstacles, Beale maintains that he has “huge confidence” in the squad’s ability to overhaul the old enemy. If able to back up that win over Hibs with a sequence of positive results – particularly at Celtic Park – Rangers fans will likely soon be buying into that confidence on mass.