As the SFA announce the opening of this season’s transfer window, attention will quickly turn to what players Rangers can bring in to mount a serious title challenge.
Many supporters believe that the Ibrox club is still a couple of signings shy of being the finished article, a view echoed by former player and coach Gregory Vignal.
But away from the playing squad, the Ibrox side has been handed a boost in this season’s fixture list – there will be no winter break this season.
Whilst there have been jibes concerning the SPFL’s decision to grant Celtic their wish to push back the first Old Firm fixture, Rangers fans will breathe a sigh of relief that the dreaded three week period has not been factored into this season.
For the last two campaigns, Rangers have ended the first half of the season with all the momentum.
Both times that crashed against the wall of hot-weather training camps and media hype as the breakaway from football has seen the club’s squad returned lacklustre and out of sorts for the last two seasons in a row.
It happened against Kilmarnock in 2019, it happened against Hearts in 2020. What’s more, we all seen it coming.
But this year there will be no winter break in January with matches scheduled to carry right on through the month.
Whilst new signings and extra bodies in through the door are inevitable and required to mount a challenge, this could be one of the most vital aspects of our season.
This squad has proven it doesn’t do well to be stopped dead in its tracks when building up furious momentum.
Add into that the psychology now surrounding the winter break and the Rangers squad and this is an unwelcome distraction we absolutely can do without this season.
The team needs to pick up ahead of steam of early, with the challenge being to keep that going from the first kick to the last, with no chance to catch a breather in between.
On the other side of the coin, this Celtic side hasn’t had to cope with a run of games in the immediate aftermath of a New Year Old Firm defeat.
Don’t underestimate just how big a factor having no winter break could be in the upcoming season.
Especially given how big a psychological issue having three weeks away from the game has been for Rangers in the last two campaigns.