Steven Gerrard’s Rangers have had a fantastic start to the season, both in Scotland and across Europe.
With the 421st Old Firm meeting between Rangers and Celtic drawing closer, Gerrard’s side have the chance to go four points clear of their city rivals when the pair clash at Celtic Park on Saturday lunchtime.
Both clubs go into this one unbeaten domestically, while the Bears have had a hat-trick of victories in the Europa League.
Could this be the start of a 55th league title for the Light Blues, and in doing so, can they stop Celtic winning 10 in a row?
Rangers’ Solid Start
Gerrard’s men went eight games into the league season before conceding a goal, beating a 114 year old record of seven.
They sit top of the SPL, a single point in front of Celtic who have a game in hand, but a win on Saturday for the visitors would cancel that game out.
Despite being frustrated by a resilient Livingston, who stopped the Gers finding the net, they still boast an impressive 24 goals scored. This could be bolstered if Alfredo Morelos can re-discover his form from last season where he netted 31 goals in all competitions.
However, the Colombian who could make his 100th appearance for the Light Blues on Saturday, is yet to score against arch rivals, Celtic.
Playing at Celtic Park
Last season Gerrard achieved what no Rangers manager had done in 10 years: His side won at Celtic Park, just before the winter break after a late Nikola Katic header.
The result was described as a ‘Seismic Day’ for the Gers boss who has invigorated this historic team and is striving to get them back to the top.
The significance of winning a derby is paramount among the fan base, and the feeling among the Gallant few is more confident now than it has been in a number of years.
That is most definitely down to the way Gerrard has set the team out to attack. The way he allows his full-backs in the form of Borna Barisic and skipper James Tavernier to get forward with intent is key, while he has seemingly given Ryan Kent more freedom, allowing him to get inside from the wide areas, and also sit on the edge of the area when the full-backs bomb on.
Rangers Manager: Steven Gerrard
A successful transfer window
As with the last few windows, Alfredo Morelos has stolen the headlines. Steven Gerrard remained calm throughout all the rumours, and even ruffled a few journalist feathers when asked about El Bufalo’s situation.
Having kept their Colombian, Gerrard made some brilliant signings over the summer.
The captures of highly rated Kemar Roofe and Swiss starlet Cedric Itten will provide cover for Morelos and allow him to rest players with their ongoing Europa League exploits; not to mention the permanent addition of Ianis Hagi.
The Rangers boss also strengthened in defence bringing in Leon Balogun from Brighton after the loss of Katic through injury. Young wing-back Calvin Bassey came in to provide depth for Tavernier and/or Barisic.
Gerrard’s squad is awash with midfield talent too. Pundits have had their say on the midfield combinations and stated that the decision will be Gerrard’s biggest since taking over at the helm of Ibrox and will need to get it right on Saturday. It’s a happy headache to have for the Champions League winner as the squad are bleeding more depth in each position that they have had in recent years.
🗣 "We haven't heard from Lille for quite a while"— Football Daily (@footballdaily) August 13, 2020
Steven Gerrard on Alfredo Morelos' future pic.twitter.com/uYBtYryo0w
Gerrard will be looking to beat Celtic away twice in a row for the first time since 1996 when they lock horns on Saturday. It’s still early, and a lot of football is yet to be played, but if Gerrard is wanting to win the league, and stop 10 in a row, it’s derbies like this one that will define the Bears’ season.
Rangers are priced at 7/4 to win the match and 5/4 to win their first title since 2010/11, while Celtic can be backed at 7/5 to claim the spoils on home soil and 4/7 to go on and win their 10th successive title (Bet Victor).