Rangers, with big intentions, travelled across Glasgow to Celtic Park on Saturday to face their arch rivals Celtic in the first Old Firm Derby in the Premiership after four long years but their ambitions faced a reality check with a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of the Premiership holders. Many considered the Gers to be contending for the title right away after their promotion to the top tier winning the Championship last season but Rangers’ massive defeat will make them have a second thought.
Celtic maintain their 100% start to the season which includes emphatic victories against two strongest sides in the Premiership Aberdeen and Rangers. So, does this mean it will be another easy ride for Celtic to the Premiership title? Do Rangers still have what it takes to come up with a title challenge?
The difference in quality between Celtic and Rangers was evident on Saturday as the Hoops totally dominated the Gers. Rangers started the game in a decent manner and the game was pretty end to end in the first 30 minutes but after that, Celtic slowly but surely cemented their dominance as young Moussa Dembele was influential with a hat-trick and an assist to set up Scott Sinclair.
Rangers pulling off a title challenge looks tough but not impossible and here are the reasons why.
Transition phase at Ibrox
Things have massively changed at Ibrox over the last four years as Rangers carried themselves up to the first tier of Scottish football from the fourth tier. The Gers made as many as 11 additions throughout the summer and it is not an overnight process to get the best out of the squad. Rangers are still going through their transition phase. Still an unfinished article, things could be rosier after a few more games.
Celtic have other distractions
Celtic are in the Champions League this season and are sitting in the group of death with giants like Barcelona, Manchester City and Borussia Monchengladbach along with them. With European distractions in their way, Celtic’s Premiership run could be in trouble and Rangers have to make use of that. Celtic making it to the round of 16 from such a strong group is difficult but can be demoted to Europa League if they finish third. Rodgers’ side are high on momentum right now but things could easily change with the European distraction in their way. So, there is way back for Warburton’s side but the Gers must pick up their game.