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Pundit’s Choice: Rangers’ title challenge

Pundit’s Choice: Rangers’ title challenge - Pundits Choice

Rangers supporters have been making a lot of noise in recent times after seeing their side get back to winning ways on Sunday in emphatic fashion.

Steven Gerrard’s men went into their Scottish Premiership clash with Motherwell at Ibrox off the back of losing 4-3 to Spartak Moscow in the Europa League on Thursday night, and thus seeking a response in Glasgow at the weekend. And respond they did with a stellar performance in a 7-1 thumping of Stephen Robinson’s Well, with braces from Scott Arfield and Eros Grezda alongside strikes from James Tavernier, Alfredo Morelos, and Glenn Middleton inspiring the Gers to their biggest victory since Gerrard took charge over the summer.

Thus, there have been many thrilled Light Blues supporters up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are likely to be intrigued by recent comments from Sky Sports pundit Andy Walker, who has outlined what holds the key to a Rangers title challenge this season, namely to beat Old Firm rivals Celtic at Parkhead at the end of December.

In fact, Walker described the Gers’ need to ‘try and win a big game’ as Rangers’ ‘biggest test’, and it’s hard to disagree with the ex-Bhoys forward given just how comfortably Celtic have had Rangers’ number in recent meetings.

Ultimately, it was always going to be a huge test for Gerrard to come in and steer the Gers towards a Scottish Premiership title challenge, what with Rangers finishing third in the table last season, and a hefty 12 points adrift of Brendan Rodgers’ side.

Yet there does appear to be a small opportunity for the Light Blues to do something very special indeed given Celtic haven’t fired on all cylinders so far this term, sitting top of the division and just two points clear of Gerrard’s side, who themselves have won four of their last five league games.

As such, as is often the case in title battles, games between those teams challenging for the title take on even greater importance, which is why Walker is right to highlight the Old Firm derby on December 29 as key to the Gers’ hopes, mainly because they haven’t enjoyed much success against the Bhoys in recent times.

Even the match earlier this season, in which Rodgers’ men won 1-0 thanks to Olivier Ntcham’s second half strike, was a relatively comfortable afternoon for Celtic despite the narrow scoreline – it was a game Rangers didn’t really look like winning.

Add in two thumping victories at the rear end of last season, with Celtic beating Rangers 4-0 in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup and 5-0 in the league a few weeks later, and there is likely to be a mental barrier the Gers need to overcome when they next face the Bhoys – it has been almost two-and-a-half years since they last beat their bitter rivals.

But with the division very tight at this stage and both teams just beginning to hit rich veins of form, Walker is absolutely spot on to underline the importance of the Old Firm derby at the end of December – it’s the ‘biggest test’ that Rangers really need to win to seriously emphasise their title credentials.

Rangers fans… what do you think? Let us know!

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Article title: Pundit’s Choice: Rangers’ title challenge

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