After years of anguish, pain and agony, Rangers are finally the Champions again drawing an end to Celtic’s decade-long dominance in Scottish football. They had fewer highs and many more lows since scripting a top-flight promotion five years back, but the glorious realm of Steven Gerrard has now seen the Gers reclaiming the coveted crown by some margin!
It’s only the first week of March and the champions should receive a Guard of Honour from bitter rivals Celtic while locking horns at Parkhead in the next gameweek. They still have to play six dead rubber league games but the objective must be to finish the league unbeaten.
Having said that, the job is not done yet for the Bears despite conquering the 55th league glory to enrich their history. They have every right to go wild while celebrating this momentous success but, at the same time, should focus on the upcoming Europa League Round of 16 contest against Slavia Praha who stunned heavyweights Leicester City in the previous round.
They punched above their weight last season in Europe but have proved their consistency this term. Gerrard has improved every individual, also injected a philosophy within the set-up. The players are now determined to make it to the quarters surpassing the previous year’s achievement which itself deserved a lot of accolades for knocking down an array of hotshots before being eliminated by Bayer Leverkusen.
There should not be any compromise in derby games as the Hoops would look to spoil the mood and ruin the ‘invincibles’ claim by grabbing a victory. However, the gaffer has the bandwidth now to try and prepare the sporadic stars as well as new arrivals in the other fixtures before making a decision for the upcoming campaign.
We might see more of Jack Simpson and Scott Wright who joined recently but are yet to exhibit their excellence in limited opportunities. Allan McGregor has been stand out with his stewardship between the sticks, yet a few games would boost Jon McLaughlin up who enjoyed a perfect start to life with 8 clean sheets in 9 league appearances upon completing a summer move from Sunderland. The 33-year-old custodian is supposed to succeed veteran McGregor in the long run and therefore, should return to action to be more involved from the next season onwards.
Meanwhile, the Scottish Cup is set to resume as well later this month and the Gers must go for the silverware having endured a shocking League Cup exit back in December. This remains Celtic’s only hope to salvage some glory after months of catastrophe and Rangers, flying high week in week out, must not let that happen at any cost.