Former Premiership striker Chris Sutton has questioned whether Glasgow Rangers have the consistency to become league champions this season, citing how they fell away over the last couple of campaigns.
Steven Gerrard’s side are about to embark on a pivotal season for the Ibrox club as they seek to end a decade-long wait for the Premiership title, the longest they have gone without being champions for nearly 50 years.
However, the ex-Celtic striker has cast doubt on the Light Blues’ ability to perform consistently enough to end the Hoops’ top-flight dominance since 2012, telling BBC Sport Live [via Glasgow Times]: “The issue for Rangers over the last couple of seasons has been quite simple. It’s not been the start of the season, it’s been after the New Year, they’ve just fallen away.
“I didn’t see it happening last season. They were dominant at Celtic Park. Whatever happened in Dubai, who knows? They came back a totally different team and fell away unbelievably. Their form was poor, Morelos looked heavy and didn’t look quite at it.
“That was their issue. They’ve only got themselves to blame. They were in a brilliant, brilliant position. They just haven’t been consistent enough and that’s the question again this season.
“Can they show the consistency over the whole season and they haven’t done that. That’s why you have to make Celtic favourites.”
It might not be what ‘Gers fans want to hear, but Sutton has a point about how Gerrard’s team faded badly last term after going into the winter break in a very promising position. Victory at Parkhead at the end of December put them within two points of Celtic and the momentum seemed to be with the Light Blues.
However, having dropped only seven points prior to the break, they relinquished 13 in their first eight matches after the restart – and that was despite not playing against Neil Lennon’s side in that run (as per TransferMarkt). While their Glasgow rivals dropped only two points from January onward, the ‘Gers lost away to Hearts and Kilmarnock while also being turned over by Hamilton at Ibrox.
Although the SPFL’s decision to end the season prematurely met with justifiable criticism from many ‘Gers supporters, the gap of 13 points at the time of the league’s cessation in March would have been very difficult to make up, particularly with Gerrard’s team struggling for form.
Will Rangers win the Premiership in 2020/21?
Celtic dropped points in only four matches in 2019/20, one of which was their derby defeat seven months ago, generally getting the job done against teams from outside the top two. The ‘Gers, by contrast, habitually slipped up against clubs near the bottom of the table, including the aforementioned defeat to a Hearts side that ultimately suffered relegation.
Obviously Gerrard’s men don’t want to be playing catch-up by the midway point of the upcoming season but the lessons of last term should warn them that, even if they get to 2021 in a promising position, they cannot afford to let up – and they certainly can’t fritter away so many points to teams whose main interest is staying in the Premiership rather than winning it.
‘Gers fans, does Sutton have a point about the team’s lack of consistency last season? Do you think things will be different this term? Comment below with your views!
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