What Rangers need to do to close the gap on Celtic

Rangers Football Club

Domestically, Celtic are having one of their most dominant seasons ever. With just three games to go, Brendan Rodgers’ Hoops are on the verge of completing an unbeaten league campaign.

Rangers v Aberdeen - Kick-off Sep 2009

As it stands, Rangers can only look on and wonder what might have been had the club not entered liquidation in 2012, thus forcing them to apply to enter the Scottish Third Division ahead of the 2012/13 season.

Their Scottish football betting odds for winning the SPL next season currently stand at 9/1 will be vastly longer than Celtic’s, however, Rangers have come a long way since liquidation and are closing the gap in a league where even the finest of margin can make a big difference.

How do they close the gap further?

Currently sat in a comfortable third place in the Scottish Premier Division, former ‘Gers’ boss Mark Warburton (now at Nottingham Forest) has claimed it will take years before Rangers can compete with Celtic once again.

However, current man at the helm Pedro Caixinha refused to be drawn on the subject saying his players need to work hard, have belief and remain committed to the cause.

That said, there are certain things the giant need to do in order to push on and close the gap to Rodgers and Co.

Rangers, Glasgow

Find a goalscorer

Kenny Miller has been a wonderful servant to Rangers over the years but the Scotsman is now 37 and despite 88 goals over three spells with the Gers, it is time to find a replacement, especially with Miller’s contract up in the summer and with nothing on the table as of yet.

Miller is top scorer for Rangers this season but has found the back of the net just ten times in the league.

By Contrast, Celtic have four players who have scored more than ten this season with new recruit Moussa Dembele and Scott Sinclair, who also moved to the club last summer (following four failed bids), boasting over 20 apiece.

Stick with a manager

Warburtons resignation/dismissal (whatever you want to call it) from Rangers was a little surprising to those south of the border who witnessed him work wonders with Brentford in the Championship.

Pedro Caixinha was brought in and the jury still out on the Portuguese former Nacional head coach after back to back Old Firm defeats did little to endear him to the fans.

However, Rangers need consistency in its helmsman and Rangers need to decide quickly whether they make a commitment to Caixinha.

It is likely they will, and if that is the case then time must be given to allow him to put together a side capable of competing at the top once more.

Off-field opportunities

Financially, there is still a large gulf between Celtic and the rest of the league. However, Rangers Club Chairman Dave King is realistic about Rangers chances of catching Celtic in the short term and points to Europa League qualification and a better commercial agreement with Sports Direct as a way to significantly close the gap.

Rangers are still a big draw and Celtic do have a limit to what they can achieve (hampered by the lack of competition in Scotland) meaning Rangers will get back to the top.

We just may have to be patient.

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Celtic fans told to be extra vigilant in Amsterdam

Celtic

Celtic

 Celtic supporters travelling to the Netherlands today for the second-leg Champions’ League Group H have been issued a safety warning by the club following an unprovoked attack by an element of the home sides fans Ajax of Amsterdam.

A group of around 50 visiting Celtic fans were set upon by Ajax supporters in The Old Sailor pub in the city’s Red Light district with some of the attackers apparently wielding pick axes burst through the doors.

Witnesses to the incident said many of the Celtic fans were left covered in blood after tables were overturned and glasses thrown with one witness reporting that he heard one of the attackers shouting “Ajax hooligans.”

Another witness said that the police had shown little interest in protecting them even after the fight was reported adding that the doormen had moved out of the way to let the yobs inside.

Many Celtic fans were worried about traveling to Amsterdam following trouble during the first-leg Champions League tie in Glasgow when the Dutch fans charged the police and ripped up the seats at Park head.

Celtic won the first match 2-1 and has issued a safety warning to the 12,000 they expect to be in Amsterdam tonight telling them to be extra vigilant and to stick to advised areas for safety reasons.

Nine arrests were made after the fight last night, but the city will be on edge knowing that what happened on Tuesday could easily happen again tonight.

Dutch police issued a statement following the attack saying:

“A group of Ajax supporters went into a pub with Celtic supporters. After a short and quick attack, the Ajax fans left. Nine of them were arrested and are still in police custody. Today we will do anything to keep the groups separated.”