The key Rangers v Celtic factor which will decide where title 22/23 ends up

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The key Rangers v Celtic factor which will decide where title 22/23 ends up

In a weekend where Rangers and Celtic both blew their Scottish Premiership rivals away, it highlighted more than ever just how important this season’s Old Firm derbies will prove.

Both Rangers and Celtic have enjoyed perfect starts to their league campaigns with the hardest part of the season yet to come as the matches prepare to come thick and fast.

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With a World Cup break on the horizon the footballing season in Europe is set to be condensed with domestic and continental games set to test the limits of both Rangers and Celtic squads.

But as things stand the strength of both is proving far too much for their inferior Scottish Premiership opposition who at this stage are struggling to cope with the power of the Glasgow Goliaths.

Save for an early scare when St Johnstone striker Theo Bair slid the ball wide of the Rangers post, the Ibrox side barely had to break a sweat against Callum Davidson’s side.

The Gers enjoyed so much control in their 4-0 victory against the Perthshire club that stalwart centre-back Connor Goldson was almost playing like a number 8 midfielder.

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This is a Rangers team in a minor transition and as players begin to settle and others start to return, the notion that van Bronckhorst’s team are only just getting started is a frightening one for the rest of the division.

Celtic have – begrudgingly – started explosively and if there were any nerves heading into their weekend clash with Kilmarnock these were dispelled within minutes.

Celtic enjoyed complete domination over Derek McInnes’ side and a 5-0 scoreline proved that they, like Rangers, have the personnel and firepower to blow teams away this season.

Old Firm strength highlighted by Rangers and Celtic squad

Going back to the point of the strength of the squads, Celtic could call on three attacking internationals from the bench in this game.

On came Greek striker Giorgos Giakoumakis, Israeli winger Liel Abada and veteran Scotland international James Forrest.

Similarly, Rangers introduced three international level attackers of their own in the second period of their win over St Johnstone, taking on Colombian Alfredo Morelos, Welshman Tom Lawrence and now-retired ex-Canada captain Scott Arfield.

The strength of the respective squads will be tested as the season goes with on more players still to return and potentially join in the next few weeks of the window.

But it’s clear that even with the hectic continental and domestic schedules ahead, the rest of the Premiership will struggle to cope with the strength of the Old Firm and the Rangers and Celtic squads.

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Some might point to Hearts – the only reasonable challenger to both sides – but with an impending European campaign on the horizon for the Jambos it remains to be seen how their inexperienced squad will cope with the hectic schedule.

That means that this league title will come down to who comes out on top across the Old Firm fixtures this season and all four of them promise to be enthralling affairs.

More than just be the highest-level encounters that both sides have partaken in for close to 20 years, they’re set to be the most decisive clashes in that period too.

Meanwhile, two first team Rangers stars have reportedly been told they are free to leave the club.