Rangers move two points clear of Celtic – who are title favourites?
Rangers go following a weekend of action in the Premiership into the split of champions Celtic — nevertheless are they currently the favorites to win the title?
Steven Gerrards facet leading how going into the international fixtures this month looked highly unlikely at the start of September – they had just lost the very first Old Firm game of the year as Celtic extended their ideal start to the domestic effort.
But, since has propelled them to the league ahead of their European Qualifiers this weeks top four wins with 17 goals scored and only one conceded.
Celtic have allowed momentum slide and their lead before agreeing to their first league defeat of the season with a loss at Livingston on 33, after dropping points away to Hibernian.
There has been a significant swing in target gap between the two sides with Rangers wins over Aberdeen and Hamilton wiping out after hitting on 12 goals in their opening two fixtures Celtics historical advantage which had been obtained.
Neil Lennons side will point to tough fixtures away at Easter Road – a floor where Brendan Rodgers failed to win during his time at the club at the league, paradoxically against Lennon – and also on the throw in Livingston. But 1 point from six signifies a worrying yield .
Gerrard says it is too premature for name talk before faltering last time, after Rangers spent some time – but are all things different this time around? Who are the favourites?
Only a fool would call who is going to win the Premiership but we have a title race. Theres a feeling in Scotland which theres a title race this moment although we have not had one to the past couple of years.
It will be precisely the same at Celtic , the Rangers dressing room will consider and rangers fans believe and it is incredibly exciting for its neutral.
December will be a month that is crucial – . And the fittings in December are tough for both groups. That month, whatever unwanted picks up more points, that may stand them in good stead. Rangers will not make the same mistakes that they did last year, although look at Celtic after the Christmas break they were on it. It can change.
Last season has been a learning curve to Rangers. Allan McGregor, Steven Davis – those guys have been around earlier, but last season when Celtic dropped points a great deal of the time Rangers froze and allow them back .
Sunday showed a change. Celtic lost along with the Rangers believing waswe will need to acquire, and it was emphatic at the 5-0 victory. Its back to what it was like years.
In a title race, even if you play you are desperate to win to put the team who plays second under pressure and Celtic are now in a position they have not been in for a very long time – that they will need to win each match again as I think Rangers are prepared to drive them and there wont be numerous points dropped by both sides to the other teams.
Thats why it could come to the Old Firm games. Rangers have demonstrated they are more than a match for anybody but they froze out the last time at Ibrox from Celtic.
Neil Lennon wont panic – you are under pressure at Rangers and Celtic. When you drop points occasionally it isnt a thing to obtain the global break and you all can get away because therell be shock theyve dropped to Livingston. Occasionally cliques can form in the room -is that he pulling on his burden orare they working hard . It does happen.
On the other negative for Rangers, once youre winning matches is keep playing. They are generating a great deal of chances and scoring goals – Alfredo Morelos and Jermain Defoe have scored 24 goals between these, it is a phenomenal return given they are not currently playing together and at every game.
I feel Celtic are suspension or still an Odsonne Edouard harm away from being in a challenging position. Theres absolutely no doubt he is. He was silent on Sunday and Celtic were poor. That might be a worry for the money they have spent – they are one injury or suspension away from confronting a real job at a tight title race.
Titles have not been obtained in October. On the early signs, the destiny of this seasons Scottish Premiership championship wont be decided until the last fittings in mid-May.
Theres no doubt that Rangers possess a stronger squad today than one year ago. Gerrard has created depth across all branches, but his force are his two strikers. In shape and as long as Defoe and Morelos stay fit, off and Rangers will last to inculcate lower resistance house, for example Hamilton. One of Gerrard requirements pre-season was that his team reveal consistency in outcomes, and so far theyve delivered.
Lennon must sit and sip on Celtics inept showing at Livingston through the international break, however he may be independently content at the beginning they have made to the season, particularly given that the rebuilding job demanded in defence during the summertime. Seven in all competitions have been including four of their next five league games, so they have a chance.
Both supervisors have observed far too far in soccer to get into hyperbole and name speak. Lennon has gone head to head using Rangers within the course of a complete year in 2010-2011, the last time there was an authenticname race in Scotland. He had been pipped on the final afternoon by Walter Smiths Rangers – 92 points which season was not sufficient to earn the tournament.
Gerrard, clearly, understands from his time as a player with Liverpool not to look too far forward, following his infamous slip in the Premier League run-in of 2014. If Rangers are still in the running after the league breaks from the spring, then his own , painful experiences could prove vital in keeping his players attention.
What both men understand is that they face a true test of the managerial abilities. Squad management and rotation will be overriding, especially during December – when a important month of games for the two teams will inform us more.
Celtic now have eight league games, and Rangers seven, organized for December, although this will change if either side (or both) reach the League Cup final. On paper, Rangers program is trickier, with trips to Aberdeen, Motherwell, Hibernian and Celtic; Celtic host Aberdeen, Hibernian and Rangers but also travel to confront Hearts at Tynecastle. Whoever comes from their Old Firm showdown more joyful on December 29 will take momentum.
After January comes, expect reinvestment in both squads – and where the trump card may be held by Celtic, that is due to their sizeable financial advantage. Celtic can do it In case a gap needs to be bridged – it is unlikely they could be matched by Rangers .
Last month, Rangers dropped their first game after the winter at Kilmarnock, while Celtic won eight consecutive league games, setting a rate their opponents could not match. The champions have been over this class – Rangers are unproven at lasting the distance, but are better positioned than before to challenge.
Are they title favourites, though? Not yet – ask me again in January…
There have been interesting developments in the title race after both sides had contrasting results weekend gambling between the Firm.
Before a ball had been kicked in August, Sky Bet were 1/3 Celtic and 9/4 Rangers for the title but obviously those chances have moved considerably as Rangers went two points clear at the summit at the weekend. Sky Bet today provide 4/6 about Celtic retaining their title and 6/5 Rangers in what looks a right shootout to the crown since its 250/1 bar.
The bookies are cheering on Celtic since they are undoubtedly the greater outcome while Rangers are a significant failure in the book because punters have got behind the Gers after their impressive start to this year. Sky Bet have laid 9/4, 7/4, 13/8 and therefore so are now 6/5 following the weekend results and have seen great support at those prices for Gerrards guys.
Celtic are now 6/1 to do a complete clean sweep of national honours having been as short as 7/2 previously in the season. Rangers are still considered second best against their neighbours in both the cup competitions and therefore so are 20/1 to perform the domestic treble but that could change as both sides have avoided each other at the semi-finals of the Betfred Cup in November and a potential Old Firm final is on the cards.
Premiership name odds from Sky Bet:
4/6 Celtic (has been 1/3 start of year )
6/5 Rangers (had been 9/4 beginning of season)
It is disappointing, particularly entering the worldwide break when youve got a few weeks before your next game. But it is good for you as well.
Weve lost the lead during the year before and we have managed to bounce backagain. This team has openness and that grit to win games we probably should not. It was not our day [against Livingston], we did not perform too.
But its a very long season and we know we could do better
I am not likely to get involved in any top-of-the-table talk. My jobs to win football matches, and as many as I can, and concentrate on the next game. There is a rest and I stress about what I have to do in order to attempt to overcome Hearts. That is all I will concentrate on.
It is still very early days in this season. Ive said to the players not to get taken away, there is a whole lot of work. We have got to improve, weve still got to grow. But the response to the query is yes, we are far much better than a year ago, and yeswe are more powerful. The 11 is more powerful, the team is more powerful, and weve got folks. So were in a place that is fantastic.
Look, its October. There is still a lot and tons of football to be playedwith. This moment in the last block of fittings we dropped an Business 2-0 and also a great deal of criticism came our way, and therefore because we didnt work on the day. So we all deserved that.
This time round we have won four out of four in the league and also tons of strong, positive performances, particularly here at home, we have shown a great deal of appetite and competitive play around us. So thats what I am looking for, but its October and there is no point worrying about where we reside in the league or getting hauled away.
Rangers face a trip to perform with Hearts upon their return to Premiership action after the rest. A win in this fixture last year saw Gerrard take his side of this table to the very first time in his reign but it wasnt to endure for long. Gerrard is going to be cautious of falling points in a setting in Gorgie, even though in the desk sit.
Gerrards team then must compete before hosting high-flying Motherwell, who are third following a remarkable start to the season, before a midweek trip north to Dingwall to play Ross County on October 30.
Celtic return to Parkhead after the international break where they will look to get back to winning ways against Ross County. The consequences of Lazio from St Mirren along with the Europa League come either side of a trip north to face Aberdeen on October 27.
Lennons side have an impressive record but this really is really a wounded Aberdeen having a lot to show after their 5-0 defeat at Betfred along with Ibrox Cup quarter-final exit to Hearts.