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Steven Davis: Rangers must work out why form collapsed last term to launch real title challenge


Steven Davis (left) and star Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos are back in training ahead of the new season.

Steven Davis (left) and star Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos are back in training ahead of the new season.

SNS Group via Getty Images

Steven Davis (left) and star Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos are back in training ahead of the new season.

Steven Davis has admitted that the new Scottish Premiership season kicking off next month will be "huge" as Rangers bid to stop Celtic winning 10 titles in a row.

Both Glasgow giants have claimed nine successive crowns in the past but the perfect tenth has eluded them, though Neil Lennon and his Bhoys are itching to change that in 2021. Just as determined to be top dogs will be Steven Gerrard's Rangers.

Davis and the Gers players have been back training since last month. They are keen to put right what went wrong after the winter break last term prior to the campaign prematurely ending in March due to the coronavirus.

The Ibrox men looked in good shape when they deservedly defeated Celtic at Parkhead in December only to lose their way when they returned to action in January, allowing Celtic to take a healthy lead at the top of the table. When it was decided that the season could not be finished, Celtic were awarded the championship on an average points per game basis.

"We were disappointed the season was curtailed but now we have a massive season ahead and we need to try and build for that and get as much work as possible in for that," says the Northern Ireland skipper.

"Everybody has come back and looked after themselves over lockdown. We were given programmes by the club. They were tough programmes and the boys have come back in good shape.

"It's about trying to build now. At this stage, it is about getting as fit as possible and trying to be as well prepared as possible in terms of how you are going to play tactically.

"During the season it can be difficult to do that because of the number of the games that we were involved in. Last season, we didn't have much preparation time in between games, so this is a real chance to put down some markers in terms of how we want to play and the different systems we might use so everybody knows their roles.

"The season ahead is going to be huge. We know the importance of it and we know it is important that we deal with that pressure.

"In the first half of last season we were excellent, and we need to figure out why and improve in terms of what happened in the second half of the season. We cannot continue that form.

"I believe we have the ability and I am sure the manager will be looking to add more quality to the squad, and that will give everyone a lift for the title race."

As well as domestic matters to prepare for, Rangers are in the odd situation that they must finish their Europa League tie against Bayer Leverkusen next month. The second leg is set to take place in Germany with the Scottish side 3-1 down.

"Leverkusen have had the benefit of finishing their league, so I am not sure what their programme will be in terms of their league finishing and being back for the game with us and where they will be at in terms of fitness," adds Davis. "Hopefully by that stage we will be raring to go. It will be a tough task going away being two goals behind but you never know what could happen.

"I think everyone is just looking forward to the football beginning again. We have been tuning into the English Premier League and Bundesliga since they restarted and we want to play games ourselves. Hopefully it will be in front of fans as soon as possible. That's what all the players want."

Belfast Telegraph