This month’s winter break couldn’t have come at a better time for Rangers.

On the back of the Old Firm win, many of Steven Gerrard’s squad looked like they were running on empty.

26th December 2018, Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow, Scotland; Ladbrokes Premiership football, Rangers versus Hibernian; Steven Gerrard Rangers Manager before kick off

(Photo by Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Gerrard’s side have played 40 games already this season since the middle of July.

Tiredness was clearly becoming a factor as performances started to drop off towards Christmas.

A string of disappointing results looked like torpedoing any title hopes with silly mistakes costing dearly.

But then, in a matter of days, they got the Old Firm monkey off their back and headed off for a well-earned rest.

Once the batteries were recharged, Gerrard’s side headed for Tenerife for some intense training – but there’s one message that will ring in the players’ ears more than any.

VIENNA, AUSTRIA - DECEMBER 13: Scott Arfield and head coach Steven Gerrard of Rangers during the UEFA Europa League match between SK Rapid Wien v Rangers at Weststadion on December 13, 2018 in Vienna, Austria.

(Photo by Josef Bollwein/SEPA.Media /Getty Images)

They simply can’t afford to make the same mistakes after the break.

The signings of Jermain Defoe and Steve Davis have made it clear that there are serious title ambitions at Ibrox.

 

Nobody will be able to say it’s about securing a ‘strong second’ and be taken seriously.

Winning the title is in their own power and doesn’t need favours from anyone to happen.

For the first time in eight years there’s a squad which looks capable of actually challenging Celtic.

VIENNA, AUSTRIA - DECEMBER 12: Head coach Steven Gerrard of Rangers and warm over from the Rangers players during Rangers FC Training and Press Conference at Weststadion on December 12, 2018 in Vienna, Austria.

(Photo by Johann Schwarz/SEPA.Media /Getty Images)

Every game between now and May is a cup final for Gerrard’s squad.

With 17 games left it might sound a bit much but one loss is all it could take to kill dreams of 55.

What happens between now and the end of the season might even decide the future of many of the squad.

One thing is absolutely certain though, dropping silly points in games won’t be good enough.

 

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