Opinion: Rangers have closed the gap on Celtic this week
It was a week of footballing contrasts in Glasgow – Rangers in the blue half had a brilliant seven days with progression in two competitions; Celtic, on the other hand, had a bit of a nightmare crashing out of the Champions League and struggling in the Betfred Cup.
Celtic lost to Romanian side CFR Cluj, and they have missed out on the Champions League money – they will now face AIK Athens in the Europa League play-off round.
In the Betfred Cup Celtic required extra-time to overcome Ladbrokes Championship side Dunfermline – so they have had a week to forget.
It is very early in the season, but this could have been a significant period for both sides.
For Rangers, it lays down a marker to Celtic – that they are going to be competitive on all fronts this year.
They cruised past Midtjylland 7-3 on aggregate with Alfredo Morelos and Sheyi Ojo standing out for Steven Gerrard’s side.
Then they showed their strength in depth – as Gerrard made ten changes to his side for the Betfred Cup game at East Fife, on a plastic pitch with a howling gale.
Perfect conditions for an upset but the Gers’ now have serious strength in depth in most positions, and they ended up cruising through 3-0 thanks to goals from Jermain Defoe, Joe Aribo and Filip Helander.
The fact that Gerrard could leave both Defoe and Aribo on the bench against Midtjylland shows just how far his squad has come in the past year.
They now look ahead to Legia Warsaw with a place in the Europa League group stages up for grabs – if they can see off the challenge of Warsaw, then they have made a great start to the season and laid down a real marker to Celtic.