There’s been so much talk of how Steven Gerrard has improved the club, but has Rangers’ competition domestically regressed?

So much focus has been placed on Gerrard’s Rangers revolution. It’s easy to see why when you consider a total of 15 new signings have walked through the Ibrox door.

An impressive showing in the Europa League qualifiers meant that much media spotlight has been on the Govan club.

Yet, there hasn’t been too much comment on how Rangers’ rivals have been faring so far. Outwith Celtic who do look strong once more this season, what do Aberdeen and Hibernian possess?

Rangers managed to finish in between the pair last season. Both sides were strong last year and had a lot of talent, but are they just as good this term?


John McGinn and Dylan McGeouch both departed Easter Road (Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Evidently not in Hibs’ case.

Neil Lennon did impressively manage to retain Florian Kamberi and Jamie MacLaren this season. The pair will be a deadly combination to have for the Leith side this term.

But there were two big losses over the summer that’s ultimately going to have a big effect.

John McGinn and Dylan McGeouch both headed south in recent months. The dynamic duo were key cogs of the Hibs midfield last season, with many sides struggling to battle their pace and power.

With the pair having departed, Emerson Hyndman and Stephen Mallan have come in as replacements. It’s a cute attempt from Hibs to fill the gap, but the space left is just too big for either man to fill.

A new threat also seems to have emerged in Daryl Horgan. The former Preston North End man is a veteran back in Ireland, and has some creative spark to his style that will help in the final third.

But it’s also showing early on so far this season how much Hibs have lost in the engine room.

Hibs have only won one game out of four in the league. Granted, so have Rangers, but Lennon’s side had much more winnable games. Two draws, one win and a defeat at Livingston sums up how they’ve started.

Added to that, they’re simply not as threatening in the final third as they were last season. Losing McGinn and McGeouch will continue to be huge blows for them. Due to that fact alone, Hibs are a lot weaker this season.


Derek McInnes’ side haven’t convinced this season (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Credit must go to Derek McInnes this season.

The former Rangers target has tried his best to recoup for the loss of key players over the summer. Anthony O’Connor and Adam Rooney were two big losses for the Dons manager. Previously to that, Aberdeen lost Jonny Hayes to Celtic and Ryan Jack to Rangers in 2017.

It’s a squad that’s slowly dismantling year-on-year, and once more it looks weaker again.

McInnes has brought in the likes of Dominic Ball, Stephen Gleeson, Tommie Hoban, and James Wilson this summer.

Not many of those will strike fear into the Rangers supporters.

Even on opening day, when Rangers grabbed a 1-1 draw at Pittodrie, Aberdeen were lacking all over the park. Going forward, they’re also struggling for real creativity.

Lewis Ferguson from Hamilton looks a find, but outside of that there’s a lack of quality going forward.

In the midfield, they remain a real weak spot. Gleeson isn’t overly-impressing, and that area is getting slower and slower.

Where Aberdeen used to have pace going forward, that’s no longer there. Gary Mackay-Steven flatters to deceive often, whilst Frank Ross, Stevie May, and Sam Cosgrove have still to convince.

McInnes has tried his best, but for now it looks as though it won’t be enough as the squad departures continue to take their toll in the Granite City.

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