Are Steven Gerrard’s Rangers on the Brink of Dominance in Scotland?

Rangers fans have ensured a long decade or so of misery. Since the club’s tax problems and rebirth of the early part of the last decade, the Ibrox outfit has had to fight hard to try and recapture its place at the top of the Scottish game.

Manager Steven Gerrard has overseen a resurgence in the last couple of seasons that now sees the Light Blues charging ahead in the race for the Scottish Premiership title. They are 13 points clear of Celtic, who have two games in hand on Gerrard’s men.

The Gers have looked indomitable for much of the 2020-21 season so far, not losing a single match in the campaign either domestically or in Europe. Their run came to an end in Paisley last week, though, when St Mirren beat them 3-2 in the quarter-finals of the Betfred Cup to end the Gers’ bid to end their trophy drought.

That defeat meant that Gerrard has failed to win the last nine straight tournaments his team have entered. No other Rangers manager has failed to win so many trophies in a row, and it is now 2011 since the Gers last won a major trophy.

Buddies bullied Rangers

St Mirren almost physically bullied Rangers that night, and Buddies boss Jim Goodwin used a very astute tactical set-up to frustrate and ultimately outwit Gerrard’s team. The Saints won 3-2, and delivered a serious wake-up call to a team that was perhaps becoming a little complacent.

Celtic completed a quadruple treble of trophies at the weekend, winning last season’s Scottish Cup to complete last season’s treble – these are strange, Covid-19 affected times in which we live. The Bhoys have struggled this season, and are a long way behind the Light Blues in the league table.

There have been supporter protests at Celtic Park, with Hoops boss Neil Lennon under pressure. Lennon seems to savour which requires a combative approach, though, and some silverware may just give his team the boost that they need to get back on track.

It is not just Celtic with whom Rangers are competing either. Old rivals Aberdeen are currently in third place with the same number of points as the Hoops. Hibernian are just a point behind the Dons.

One man who does think that Rangers can end Celtic’s hopes of 10 in a row is independent bookmaker and columnist Geoff Banks. Gerrard’s team are certainly in a good position to do so.

The Gers won their 10th successive league game at the weekend when they beat Motherwell 3-1 at Ibrox, a sign that the title bid is still very much on track. While the Light Blues would undoubtedly have loved to win the Betfred Cup, it would be a mistake to see it as a priority for the Govan outfit.

Keep the heid

Betfred currently have odds of 1/7 on Rangers winning the Scottish Premiership this season, making them strong favourites. Interestingly, they also have them priced at 33/1 to win the Europa League. Achieving that double this season would surely set Gerrard among the pantheon of Rangers legends.

Great sides always deal positively with setbacks. How Rangers respond to the St Mirren shock over the busy festive period will give a strong indication of whether they can really end Celtic’s bid for 10 in a row and become Scottish champions for the first time since 2010.

Gerrard has reassured fans that the club will not be selling players in January – a sign of intent. The team certainly has all the ingredients in place to win the title, and the manager looks to be an astute tactician who has built a strong side.

If Rangers can ‘keep the heid’, as they say in Scotland, then those odds on offer from Betfred for the title look tempting to us. One thing that events over the last decade have taught us, though, is that you can never take anything for granted in Scottish football.

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