Are Rangers on the cusp of returning to the summit of Scottish football?

Ibrox, the home of Glasgow Rangers
Ibrox, the home of Glasgow Rangers

It’s official, Glasgow Rangers will be back in the Scottish Premiership. After a few difficult years, Rangers have worked their way back to the top flight and they will now challenge arch city rivals Celtic’s dominance in the Scottish game. If nothing else, neutrals are now ecstatic at the prospect of two Old Firm fixtures in Scotland’s top division for the first time since the 2011/12 season.

Ibrox, the home of Glasgow Rangers
Ibrox, the home of Glasgow Rangers (daniel0685 / Flickr)

Rangers romped to the Scottish Championship title this season in unsurprising fashion, winning 25 of their 36 league fixtures and losing just five. However, their performance against Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park was an eyebrow-raiser for those who wrote Rangers off. They were the better side throughout 90 minutes, extra-time and came up trumps in the penalty shoot-out on a historic day for all involved with the club.

At the time of writing, Rangers are priced at 4/11 with bet365 to end the season on a high and win the Scottish FA Cup final as they look to build ahead of what could be a historic season for everyone associated with the club. In fact, Mark Warburton’s men are likely to be one of the early Scottish Premier League betting market leaders along with Celtic ahead of the 2016/17 campaign.

It won’t be easy, though. Rangers will face Alan Stubbs’ Hibernian, who are trying to lift the famous trophy for the first time in over 100 years. The two major Glasgow sides had dominated this competition in recent times but St Johnstone and Inverness Caledonian Thistle have managed to win in each of the last two years. And while Hibs will be desperate for some form of success after a reasonably successful campaign, it’s hard to back against Rangers in this one.

Hibernian fell agonisingly short against Falkirk in the Scottish Championship playoffs but Stubbs believes the Scottish Cup final provides the perfect opportunity for his side to bounce back and get over that particular disappointment. On current form, Hibernian stand a chance of testing Rangers’ credentials but Warburton’s side will need to have an off-day for Hibs to lift the cup.

If truth be told, Rangers really need to win the Scottish Cup to send out a statement of intent to their arch-enemies. Celtic are the top dogs in Scottish football right now but Warburton’s side won’t let their city rivals control the top flight any longer. Rangers aren’t going to just sit by and watch Celtic win the Scottish title year after year, and victory over Hibernian could be the stepping stone for future success. If nothing else, it’s certainly going to an exciting 12 months for Scottish football…


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