Tough test awaits Rangers as Celtic restore (temporary) league lead

Tough test awaits Rangers as Celtic restore (temporary) league lead
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 03: Rangers manager Philippe Clement is seen during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Rangers FC and Livingston FC at Ibrox Stadium on February 03, 2024 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

As predicted, as if it was tough to do so, Celtic picked up all three points meaning they now top the league, throwing the ball back into Rangers’ court.

Rangers, of course, travel to Dundee decimated by injury and frankly in not particularly good form, with just two wins in five and both of them having major caveats:

One was in the cup v 9 men, the other was a horrible performance at Killie and cost us Oscar Cortes and effectively Dujon Sterling.

The winning mentality isn’t quite there right now, but naturally we can also spin it more positively:

The loss to Motherwell was Rangers’ first non-win in the league since the trip to Parkhead, so momentum, league-wise, is generally very much there.

But that was an ugly bloody nose that day, and Motherwell and Dundee are about even in level – with this one being a trip to the side who haven’t lost at home in 6 weeks.

Make no mistake, this is an absolute, critical, vital must-win.

And make even further less mistake, the lack of Dujon Sterling, as is 99% likely to be the case, is a real problem.

He became pivotal over the past two months, and losing him is a major drag.

Of course, we’re not claiming Dundee are Real Madrid – they are beatable, quite beatable, but so were Motherwell and Philippe Clement, like v Benfica, got the tactics wrong and was just beaten fair and square on the day.

But this one on Sunday takes on added significance.

Celtic are now top again, albeit with our game in hand – that gives them a little momentum and the pressure is now on Rangers.

This really is the true pressure of Rangers – a draining 90 in midweek, and knowing Sunday is utter must win having been given the gauntlet by Celtic.

Do we believe we’ll win? We’re honestly keeping quiet on that one. This is a real test for Clement – lifting his players up, and getting a big win to restore the lead.

He’s generally done well at the weekend following a Euro midweek, but this is a bad result with morale a bit reduced, so this is a tougher test than usual.

Celtic have put the ball in our court, 56 could very much rest on how we respond to that.

Game on.

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