Former Rangers man Derek Ferguson has stated his belief that the league title-race is now over after last night’s results.
Celtic cruised to a sensational 5-0 hammering of Hearts at Parkhead. Meanwhile, Kilmarnock were putting Rangers to the sword in an impressive 2-1 win for Alex Dyer’s outfit.
The results extended our lead at the top of the table to 10 points, albeit having played a game more than our rivals. However, should Rangers win it, and there’s hardly any guarantee of that, then the gap will still be seven points.
That’s apparently enough with 12 fixtures remaining for Ferguson to believe the title race is over. Speaking on BBC’s Sportsound program last night (12/02), the ex-Ibrox star disagreed with Billy Dodds that Rangers weren’t out of things yet.
“Since they’ve come back from the break in Dubai, I wonder what’s been going on over there because that’s the second year in a row. First of all, look at Celtic. They’ve came back, they’ve changed things up. Two up top, three at the back.
“Rangers have came back, I don’t know if they’ve thought ‘we just need to go out and get about the park and things will happen’. Well, you’ve got to make things happen. You’ve got to win the battle first and foremost. Billy [Dodds] mentioned intensity; they had that before the break.
“Is it a case that the players think because they had two good performances against Celtic, that’s enough? Well it ain’t. And Billy says he doesn’t think the title race is over. Well I think it is. I don’t think Rangers will be able to claw that back because I watched a side [Celtic] tonight that, I don’t think they were at their best, and they’ve absolutely skelped Hearts 5-0.”
Defeatist talk can’t throw us off our own game
Over the next few days and perhaps even weeks, we’re going to get plenty of this. Pundits and ex-players coming out and saying that the league is over despite there still being 12 games left to play – it’ll be common.
However, it’s still only three games worth of a difference. All it takes is one slip up from Celtic for people to start talking about the title race being up and running again.
As things stand, we’re in a position we could only have dreamed of being in during the winter break. When Rangers won at Ibrox, it looked as though we had a real battle on our hands. Celtic’s professionalism and intensity have both been aspects that Rangers haven’t been able to cope with.
Therefore, it’s that same professionalism and intensity that must be shown now to seriously crank up the pressure on our foes. If they win their game in hand, seven points is still a fine margin, but it’s not quite game over just yet.
I can’t help but think back to when we won at Ibrox under Gordon Strachan back in 2008 to go seven points clear at the top. Many felt the league was won that day in December. However, we managed to relinquish the advantage and hand Walter Smith his first title since returning to Ibrox. No more of that please Celtic!
The gap is superb, and you would seriously back this Celtic team to see the job through now. However, that’s the thing – there’s still a job that needs doing. The title race isn’t over yet, but we’ve taken some massive strides towards it since Dubai.