By John McGinley
Rangers finally took the plunge this week after a run of poor Scottish Premiership and European form, sacking manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst after just over a year in charge.
It leaves them in a state of disarray throughout the World Cup break, already sitting nine points behind Celtic, with major contract and transfer dilemmas on the immediate horizon.
If nothing else, it’s proof of the power of Celtic’s rebuild under Ange Postecoglou. The Australian took over the Bhoys chasing the Ibrox outfit and has transformed them into the dominant force in Scotland again.
And the uncomfortable truth for Rangers supporters is that getting close to the Bhoys may well be unrealistic after booting out a manager whose points total after his 40 games in charge wasn’t actually all that shabby.
The Dutchman amassed 92 points from the 40 fixtures he played in the Premiership, consisting of 28 wins, eight draws and just four defeats – three of the latter were to Celtic.
Celtic in contrast won 109 points from the same number of fixtures in the same time period, winning an incredible 35, drawing four and losing just one.
Obviously, the 17-point disparity is something that Van Bronckhorst must take his share of the blame for. From a Rangers perspective, there have been too many draws. But outside of derbies, he lost the same number of matches as the Bhoys to the rest of the division.
The reality may well be that it hasn’t been a case of Rangers being terrible, more that Celtic have just been so good domestically, to an almost historic degree.
When you examine the situation, everything remains in Celtic’s hands, regardless of what Rangers do with a new manager. We have set our own pace in the Scottish Premiership and while the team need to work as hard as ever to maintain this kind of form, if we do so, it’ll be immensely difficult for any Ibrox manager to catch us.
Look at where Rangers currently sit after 15 matches this season. They are only three points worse off than at the same stage last term with the bulk of those matches coming under the much-lauded Steven Gerrard, but instead of being four points ahead as they were then, they find themselves nine points behind. That’s all down to us.
We live in a period of Celtic excellence. Without a sustained dip of our own domestic form, I’m not sure a new boss in Govan is going to impact that too greatly. I don’t think they’ve come to terms with that yet.
In other news, The Aaron Mooy verdict after Celtic midfielder faces elite France side at World Cup.
By John McGinley