Scottish Premiership title race: Celtic or Rangers within the driving seat? | Soccer Information


What’s the state of play?

It has been a rollercoaster of a season thus far.

Celtic had been in pole place from the primary weekend of the marketing campaign, however in mid-February Rangers discovered themselves in high spot.

That lasted for a month earlier than Brendan Rodgers’ aspect returned to the summit by a degree after beating St Johnstone – albeit Rangers have a sport in hand after their sport at Dundee was postponed.

How Rangers battled again into the title race

Rangers have won their last 10 Premiership matches
Rangers have been seven factors behind Celtic when Clement arrived

Few have been predicting a closely-fought title race when Philippe Clement changed Michael Beale at Rangers in October.

He inherited a squad that was bereft of confidence, struggling in Europe and in many individuals’s minds out of the title race.

Celtic have been seven factors clear when the Belgian arrived however a 16-game unbeaten run noticed Rangers reduce that deficit to only 5, with two video games in hand.

Simply earlier than the flip of the 12 months, the champions responded with a 2-1 win over their Previous Agency rivals and Rodgers’ aspect have been eight factors clear on the summit heading into 2024.

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Highlights from December’s Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Rangers

However Rangers nonetheless had two video games in hand and received them each following the winter break, whereas Celtic dropped factors at Aberdeen – permitting Rangers to attract degree on the high.

When the Hoops faltered once more by drawing at house to Kilmarnock, Rangers moved clear on the summit for the primary time this season by beating St Johnstone 24 hours later.

Nonetheless, when you want proof that there can be loads of twists and turns forward, look no additional than the opening weekend of March. Each golf equipment misplaced on the identical weekend within the Premiership for the primary time since 2018 as Motherwell received 2-1 at Ibrox giving Celtic the prospect to return to the highest – just for Hearts to beat Brendan Rodgers’ aspect 2-0 at Tynecastle Park.

The Hoops did transfer a degree clear on the summit in March after beating St Johnstone – albeit Rangers have a sport in hand as their sport at Dundee was postponed.

Strap yourselves in – this title race goes all the way in which!

Who’s favorite for the title?

If solely soccer was that easy! In December the reply was Celtic, come February and Rangers had edged forward, however now with lower than 10 video games to go – it truly is unattainable to name.

Rangers have 4 league video games to navigate earlier than the cut up – another than Celtic – together with one other Previous Agency conflict at Ibrox on April 7, reside on Sky Sports activities.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 30: Celtic Manager Brendan Rodgers and Rangers Manager Philippe Clement  during a cinch Premiership match between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic Park, on December 30, 2023, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic and Philippe Clement’s Rangers are battling for high spot

Clement’s aspect have taken six extra factors within the league than their rivals since his appointment. Rangers have confirmed they are going to be on this title race till the top and the assumption is rising.

The message from the blue aspect is ‘one sport at a time’ however followers are beginning to dream of including to the trophy cupboard and ending Celtic’s quest for three-in-a-row.

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Rangers final received the league title in 2021 – ending an extended 10-year wait

Nonetheless, disregard Celtic at your peril. They’ve proven prior to now they will navigate uneven waters and ship outcomes amid frustration within the stands.

The champions’ benefit could have evaporated however in addition to kind, different elements come into the equation. The mentality to recover from the road in a title race, taking part in in Glasgow’s goldfish bowl and inevitable squad points by way of accidents or suspension – so much can change.

Over the past 12 seasons, Celtic have received the league 11 occasions with Rangers claiming only one in 2020/21 as they stopped their rivals clinching a tenth consecutive title.

A number of members of Rodgers’ squad know what it takes to recover from the road, as does the supervisor himself, having received back-to-back league titles throughout his first spell in Glasgow, together with an invincible treble.

Brendan Rodgers won two league titles during his first spell as Celtic manager
Rodgers received two league titles throughout his first spell as Celtic supervisor

At first look, league tables in recent times, comparable to 2022, could counsel there have been some shut battles for Scotland’s high spot. Nonetheless, in actuality, that title was sewn up comfortably and you have to return to 2010/11 for the final real title race when Rangers have been topped champions on the final day of the season.

What the pundits say

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Sky Sports activities’ Kris Boyd and Chris Sutton talk about the Scottish Premiership title race after Rangers moved above Celtic for the primary time this season

Sky Sports activities’ Kris Boyd:

“Beneath Michael Beale, there was an excessive amount of soccer performed, and I do not assume Philippe Clement appears at it and desires to be the most effective passing group within the league. It would not actually trouble him. An important factor is to win the sport of soccer.

“There was comparisons with Clement and Walter Smith, when it comes to the way in which they went about their enterprise, and I can perceive why.

“Clement’s been over the course and distance. He is aware of precisely what it takes to win trophies and he is wise in what he is saying, week by week and sport by sport.

“There can be extra twists and turns between now and the top of the season, there is not any doubt about that, however Rangers are in a great place at this second in time.”

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Sutton delivered a damning verdict on Celtic’s kind, describing their performances below Rodgers as ‘bang common’

Sky Sports activities’ Chris Sutton:

“The actual fact of the matter is Celtic have tousled and tousled badly this season. They’ve overwhelmed Rangers twice they usually’ve let an eight-point lead go, and Rangers have dragged that again on them.

“However we’ve not seen the most effective of Celtic. We all know that Brendan over time has confirmed he is a great coach, he’ll have to do this once more.

“Celtic have gotten quite a lot of points, but it surely’s about profitable the following sport and placing Rangers below stress. It isn’t accomplished and dusted by an extended stretch.

“You simply do not know what Celtic group goes to show up. The one factor constant about Celtic this season is how inconsistent they’ve been.

“We have got one hell of a title race on in Scotland this season.”

Key fixtures and the following Previous Agency

Celtic and Rangers will meet subsequent on April 7 at Ibrox – reside on Sky Sports activities

Celtic have three league video games to go, whereas Rangaers have 4, earlier than the league splits right into a high and backside half after April 14 for the 5 last matches.

Following the worldwide break Hibernian go to Ibrox whereas Celtic are reside on Sky Sports activities at Livingston.

Then, all eyes can be on Ibrox on April 7 when the 2 golf equipment meet within the third Previous Agency conflict of the season – reside on Sky Sports activities. Celtic boast a 100 per cent report within the fixture this season, a run Rangers should finish if they’re to spice up their possibilities of profitable the title.

An injury-hit Hoops aspect have been victorious towards Beale’s Rangers at Ibrox in September earlier than Kyogo was the difference-maker once more, serving to declare a 2-1 win on December 30 in Glasgow’s East Finish.

As issues stand there can be subsequent to nothing between the groups the following time Celtic and Rangers meet.

Rangers’ rescheduled sport towards Dundee may also should be performed earlier than the weekend of April 13/14 when Celtic face St Mirren earlier than Ross County host the Gers – reside on Sky Sports activities.

Why there’s greater than only a trophy at stake

Luis Palma fired Celtic in front from the penalty spot
Celtic have been within the Champions League group stage this season after profitable the title

You would possibly assume it means delight right here – and sure there may be that. Nonetheless, Champions League soccer can be up for grabs with this season’s league winners assured a group-stage spot and large prize cash: a minimum of £35m.

Nonetheless, because of the UEFA coefficient rankings, it could possibly be the final season an automated spot is up for grabs for Scottish golf equipment for a while.

Rangers' Cyriel Dessers celebrates with Abdallah Sima as he scores to make it 2-1 vs Real Betis
Rangers beat Actual Betis away to win their Europa League group and seal a last-16 spot earlier than dropping to Benfica

That’s as a result of Scotland are at present in a battle to complete tenth in UEFA’s rankings – which impacts golf equipment within the 2025/26 marketing campaign. Then from 2026/27 there can be no automated locations, loads of difficult qualifiers and an enormous dent in money out there for golf equipment to strengthen and compete in Europe.

It’s all to play for but it surely takes a sure mentality to win the league.

Rangers’ kind has bought them again into the race however you can’t underplay the expertise Rodgers and his squad have. It actually is simply too near name.

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