Former Rangers skipper Barry Ferguson feels the Light Blues remain short on quality in their bid to topple Celtic this season, and he says Steven Gerrard is smart enough to realise it.
It has been a topsy-turvy first half of the season in the Scottish Premiership. Hearts set a blistering early pace but the Jambos have since faltered. Aberdeen and Hibs have lacked the consistency needed, so instead Rangers and Kilmarnock have both recently found themselves on top of the table.
Celtic meanwhile have stuttered at times, more so than in their first two seasons under Brendan Rodgers, but barring an unlikely setback at home to Dundee on Saturday, the champions will be top for Christmas Day and Celtic are 1/9 to make it eight domestic titles in a row.
Rangers are making a fist of it this term under Gerrard and are as short as 6/1 second-best in the betting, but can they sustain the race?
Former Ibrox captain Ferguson feels the Govan club will have to find more quality from somewhere to bolster their attacking options.
“There’s been a massive difference but they’re short of a bit of quality from middle to front,” Ferguson said this week.
“I’m sure the manager knows that. He’s an intelligent man. But certainly there’s a title challenge on and not just Rangers and Celtic.”
The Hoops are 1/8 to beat Dundee at home on Saturday and should have few issues against the basement club.
Rangers travel to St Johnstone on Sunday and should also oblige at 11/20. Gerrard’s side bossed Hibs on Wednesday evening in Edinburgh but just did not take their chances. They are unlikely to scorn as many clear cut openings again.
Elsewhere, Aberdeen tackle Hearts up at Pittodrie, with the Dons now having moved above their visitors in the table. Hearts have been in freefall since those heady days of autumn and 1/1 on a home win appeals.
At Easter Road, Hibs will hope to continue their recent resurgence. They were fortunate against Rangers, but four points from back-to-back home games against the Old Firm is a very pleasing return for Neil Lennon.
Hibs have achieved three straight shutouts and, if they play as they did against Celtic last Sunday, they can justify a price of 5/7 against Livingston. Lennon will have his men right up for this game, knowing a win would see them leapfrog their visitors.
Kilmarnock are also an appealing price at 8/11 to overcome Hamilton on Saturday – with Accies having lost 13 of 18 league games so far this season.
It is an interesting title race in Scotland right now and the next ten days could see it becoming ever more keenly fought – with Celtic crossing Glasgow after Christmas for Gerrard’s first derby on blue soil!
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