It was a monumental Old Firm victory for Rangers, but Steven Gerrard’s boys have got to remain humble if they are to see it out and claim title No.55.
he Championship is now Rangers’ to lose. Celtic’s dream of 10 in a row has all but faded away.
However, Rangers can’t afford to drop their guard, they need to treat each team they play with the utmost respect and while their confidence will have sky-rocketed after today’s result, they’ll know they could easily be brought back down to earth by Aberdeen in their next game. The defeat to St Mirren in the League Cup was just a few weeks ago.
Nineteen points is a huge lead, even if Celtic do have three games in hand, and I can’t see them dropping the points between now and the end of the season to bring the Hoops back into the title race.
Celtic will also be demoralised by this defeat and it will be interesting to see how they bounce back.
Rangers were second best for large periods of the game but in a title race, capturing the three points is all that matters.
Sure, Rangers want to play the game the right way — move the ball quickly, create chances and score goals — and they never changed from that.
However, Celtic stifled them for much of the match. Steven Davis, the creator and driving force of Rangers, didn’t get a kick in the first half.
Celtic were tactically very good and refused to allow Rangers to build, constantly nicking the ball and forcing them on the back foot.
Playing man to man, there was space behind Celtic but with Alfredo Morelos wanting the ball at his feet, it was only in the second half that Rangers started to exploit this.
The sending-off was critical in this game. Nir Bitton is not a centre-back for me and his positioning was all wrong. He got tight to Morelos who used his upper-body strength to get past him, which ultimately forced Bitton to panic. While a red card may have seemed harsh, the Rangers striker was going to be free in on goal to get a shot away.
The decision certainly galvanised Rangers, and allowed Davo to finally get on the ball. Glen Kamara began playing neat passes and suddenly they were starting to retain possession further up the pitch.
Callum McGregor was very unfortunate to score the own goal. I actually thought he’d played really well for Celtic and he was just unlucky there was a touch in front of him before it hit his shoulder and ended up going into the net.
It must have been agony on the touchline for Neil Lennon after his team had played so well.
Some fed-up Celtic fans will be calling for his head immediately with the 10 in a row appearing to be dashed.
The Celtic Board stated in November they would review Lenny’s situation in the New Year, but I think they will stick with him for the time being.
While this result didn’t go his way, the players, in recent weeks, have shown they are playing for him.
Who is going to come in under the circumstances at this time and do a better job?
It’s hardly a great proposition for a new Celtic manager to come into.
Even if Celtic win their three games in hand, they are still going to be 10 points behind Rangers and while I’m aware Gerrard’s teams have run out of steam in recent seasons, I can’t see them dropping so many points.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Lenny remains in charge until the end of the season and then the Board review his position again in the summer.
By that time, I expect Rangers to be celebrating title No.55 and the club may look back on today’s result as the day they were able to put one hand on the trophy.