Gerrard's Rangers can prove Wright wrong and reel in Celtic this season
photo by David Kissman/Action Plus via Getty Images

Gerrard's Rangers can prove Wright wrong and reel in Celtic this season

BBC pundit Ian Wright was unequivocal when asked on the Monday Night Club (13th August, 8:54pm) whether Steven Gerrard’s Rangers could reel in Celtic this season and regain the title.

“No, no, no, because Celtic are so way in front,” was the response from the former Arsenal hitman. It’s true that Brendan Rodgers’ side were miles ahead in the Old Firm games last season and finished 12 points clear in the league.

But the sands may be beginning to shift. Gerrard has overhauled the playing staff and is in the process of instilling fight into his squad, who are also doing the business so far in Europe.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – AUGUST 08: Celtic Manager, Brendan Rodgers (C) gives intructions during the UEFA Champions League Qualifier between Celtic and AEK Athens at Celtic Park Stadium on August 8, 2018 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

And while, at this early stage of the season, Wright is right to call Celtic the favourites to retain their crown, there are early signs that the landscape could change in Glasgow.

This isn’t to say that Gerrard’s Rangers will definitely win the league, but there are glimpses of a scenario emerging where it becomes possible; a far cry from the state of affairs last season.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – MAY 14: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Steven Gerrard talks with Brendan Rodgers manager of Liverpool during a training session at Melwood Training Ground on May 14, 2015 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Celtic have a central defensive crisis, have not backed Rodgers in the transfer market, lost to Hearts at the weekend and are at very real risk of dropping out of the Champions League.

Meanwhile, Rangers have taken on board Gerrard’s early messages very sharply and while it remains to be seen if the quality can hold out across the length of the season, the side is already playing with the intensity their manager demands.

Of course, football is an ever-changing beast. Celtic could see off AEK and Rangers could go out of Europe before losing the first Old Firm clash of the season next month and Rodgers would be back in the box seat.

But there has been enough evidence in the early weeks of the season to suggest that Wright shouldn’t write off the title race just yet. The tide could yet turn.