Rangers’ chances of wrestling the Premiership title away from Celtic Park next season have been rated as extremely slim by a range of leading bookmakers. There is reason for optimism at Ibrox after Steven Gerrard took over as manager and set about overhauling the squad in order to mount a title challenge. He has already made some bold moves this summer and many fans believes Gers could close the gap on their bitter rivals in the 2018/19 campaign. But the bookies have provided a dose of realism to keep supporters’ expectations grounded.
If you read reviews for the top betting websites on the market and find the most trusted and reputable operators, you will be able to browse established and intriguing sites, and they all make Celtic heavy favourites to win another Premiership title next season. The odds on Celtic range from 1/25 to 1/10, while Rangers are a distant second in the betting, priced between 7/1 and 12/1. Despite that vote of little confidence, Rangers are actually attracting more bets than any other team, as fans and neutrals clearly believe the club can defy the odds, and they are putting their money where their mouths are.
Former Liverpool star Gerrard made a bold decision to leave the safety of Anfield, where he was a youth coach, to step into the pressure cooker of Rangers dugout. He has continued to act swiftly and decisively since taking the post, bolstering the club’s ranks with seven signings. Connor Goldson, 25, has arrived in a £3 million deal from Brighton, and he will form a new defensive partnership alongside Nikola Katic, a £2 million arrival from Slaven Belupo. Gers conceded twice as many goals as Celtic last season, and 13 more than Aberdeen, and that saw them finish third in the table.
Going forward they were brilliant under Pedro Caixinha, scoring more than any other team in the league, but defensive shortcomings cost them dearly. If Gerrard can tighten things up at the back and make Rangers harder to break down, while retaining that swashbuckling attacking flair, they really could be a force to be reckoned with in 2018/19. Gerrard’s pulling power is clear. He convinced Liverpool full-back Jon Flanagan to join his revolution. The 25-year-old’s off-field behaviour has made headlines for the wrong reasons, but purely as a player he represents a real coup for the club.
Flanagan was a key cog in the Liverpool team that almost won the EPL title under Brendan Rodgers and he could flourish after moving to Scotland. Gerrard has said:
“I have no doubt that when these fans see the type of player he is they will like what they see. There’s a lot of things Rangers fans want to see in a defender. They want to know if you’re a winner, will run through a wall for them and give every bit of blood, sweat and tears for them. I can guarantee Jon will do that because he’s exactly what this squad needs if you look at the player’s strengths.”
Flanagan, Goldson and Katic will play in front of Allan McGregor after Gerrard lured the veteran goalkeeper away from Hull City. That should make Rangers a lot more solid next season, and their attacking options have been bolstered too. Another signing from Brighton, £1.1 million man Jamie Murphy, is blessed with phenomenal pace and dynamism and he could help the team spring some rapid counter-attacks. Scott Arfield also boosts the midfield options, and Gerrard clearly sees great potential in Ovie Ejaria after taking him on loan.
He has told flops like Eduardo Herrera that they are not needed and more players are sure to join the revolution. Gerrard has also been getting tough with the squad in training, and it all points to Gers being a lot more competitive next year, so those long odds might tempt more fans to back the team for glory.