As Rangers boss Michael Beale confirms his side are a work in progress, Old Firm rivals Celtic continue their relentless march towards a second Premiership title in a row.

After undoubtedly the best performance of Michael Beale’s tenure – which has seen the club win an impressive 11 out of 12 matches – against Hearts, there was a sense of familiar toil in the eventual 2-1 win over Ross County.

Malky Mackay’s side were well-drilled and concentrated in their low-block approach to Rangers who, particularly under Giovanni van Bronckhorst, toiled to break down stubborn Scottish opposition.

That steely determination and physical approach has been a barrier to Rangers in their hunt for Scottish Premiership supremacy over the last few seasons whilst across the city, Celtic have routinely managed to find a way. And then some.

Celtic unflappable amid comfortable lead on Rangers

Ange Postecoglou might be feeling the pinch of Michael Beale behind him, but Celtic have yet to flinch since the new Rangers boss walked up the marble staircase.

As the Rangers manager was explaining that his team will take time to routinely swat away the likes of Ross County at Ibrox, Celtic were assuring the nine point gap remained with a 4-1 defeat of stubborn St Johnstone.

They had four shots on target and scored four goals as their seemingly relentless march towards an 11th Premiership title in 12 years continues.

For Rangers boss Michael Beale – even with that financial gap which has made such headlines recently – those numbers have got to change in Rangers’ favour sooner rather than later.

It’s been discussed to death at this point, but Rangers undoubtedly slept on 55 and Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s tepid domestic Gers have seen us slip well behind our Old Firm rivals.

But it’s not against Celtic – the 2-2 Ibrox being Michael Beale’s black mark in an otherwise clean copybook – that this title has been won and lost.

Celtic are enjoying the freedom of a substantial points gap courtesy of a criminal three game run just before the World Cup break that it’s still hard to forgive Gio or these players for.

Criminal Gers run costs club big

Rangers, quite simply, cannot be drawing with Livingston (H) and St Mirren (A) and be beaten by St Johnstone (A) in a matter of weeks – as was the case between the 23rd of October and 12th of November – and expect to be lifting league titles.

Those seven dropped points have opened up a gap which at the moment appears unassailable at the top of the table and there is no excuse for any Rangers team chucking it like this.

It’s not just the prestige of championship medals on the line either, with automatic Champions League qualification – earned by the exploits of Rangers in recent seasons – and the millions that come with it gifted to the Champions.

Had Rangers even managed to keep the points gap at a respectable five, then there would be increased pressure on Celtic as they looked to find results.

Rangers FC v Heart of Midlothian - Cinch Scottish Premiership
Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

At the moment, it is all completely off them and they’re playing with freedom as a result.

One slip-up might see the mood music change, but at the moment it’s Rangers, riding their luck and clinging on for dear life in the league this season, who look more likely than Celtic to blink first.

Meanwhile, excitement continues to build around new signing Todd Cantwell.

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