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Is the gap in Glasgow shortening, Positive January suggests Rangers are on their back

DATE: 07.02.2018 - SOCCERVOICE - BLOG - SEASON 2017-18

Rangers haven’t won a Scottish top-flight title since 2011. Too long for a club with a record 54 gongs, made worse for fans by the fact bitter rivals Celtic have dominated since, winning each of the last six flags and already well on their way to securing a seventh.

The Teddy Bears finished third last year – their first season back in the Premiership – behind runaway winners Celtic and silver medallists Aberdeen. Rangers’ battle is now with The Dons to wrestle their way back into the top-two, reaffirming themselves as Celtic’s main danger.

Following a couple of failed experiments in the hot-seat, the Ibrox board finally saw what was right under their noses the whole time, appointing Graeme Murty as manager.

The former youth coach has been handed the reigns until the end of the season, tasked with grabbing the silver medal and making a dent in the Scottish Cup, but many in the stands have already seen enough to convince them the former Southampton defender is the long-term answer.

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Murty started on the front foot, beating Aberdeen home and away in quick succession, before going to Celtic Park and getting a draw. With confidence back in the ranks, the stand-in manager, backed by the board, cut out the deadwood of the Pedro Caixinha era, replacing it with hungry, British players, many self-confessed supporters of the club.

Source: Rangers Culture via Twitter

Those newbies include Russell Martin from Norwich, Nottingham Forest’s Jason Cummings and Jamie Murphy, who jetted in front of Premier League side Brighton.

That shake-up has had the desired effect, Rangers winning each of their three January fixtures to get 2018 off on the right foot.

Starting with a crucial 2-0 win over Aberdeen in Govan, Morelos and Tavernier were both on target, before claiming a hard-fought win vs Ross County on the road. Candeias scored the opener against Owen Coyle’s side, Cummings climbing off the bench to put the game to bed.

The Rangers support are beginning to believe again and, following suggestions in the media that the club knocked back a big-money offer from China for star striker Alfredo Morelos, it looks like all concerned are planning for the future.

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£8m was the deal, a price tag that will come as no surprise to followers of Scottish football betting, the Columbian currently favourite to finish as the league’s top scorer.

The measure of just how far Rangers have come on will be taken from how they perform against rivals Celtic. Overthrowing them may be a bridge too far this season but they’ll want to land a blow on The Hoops, aiming for a win that would not only help close the gap but send a message across the city – Rangers are back and they’re going for 55.

Source: Rangers Culture via Twitter

Sunday 11th March is penned in as the date for the next Old Firm Derby and we’ll see then if Graeme Murty and his band of brothers have any chance of making things competitive and injecting excitement back into football north of the border.

Bookie bet365 have the blues written off as 66/1 no-hopers to win the league, which is a big enough price, but probably still too small to attract much of an interest. Going into February, with a recent win over Aberdeen behind them, Rangers are 5/6 second favourites to win the ‘betting without Celtic’ market.

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