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If you still had doubts about the Rangers’ title chances, now is the time to let them go.
Celtic’s loss to Ross County in Dingwall, just hours after Steven Gerrard’s side swept Dundee United at Ibrox, means there are now 18 points between Glasgow’s rivals after 30 games apiece.
There are 24 points left to play.
Even the most pessimistic Rangers fans are beginning to believe that the 55th title is now on the immediate horizon, and it looks like it will arrive earlier in the season than they ever imagined.
As it stands, Celtic have 64 points, which means the most they can finish the season by is 88. The Rangers, then, currently at 82, need seven more points to win it.
The date they will set their sights on, then, is the Old Firm Derby at Celtic Park on March 21. Assuming Celtic keep up with the Rangers in the two games between now and then, Gerrard’s team would travel home to their rivals needing only one point to clinch the title.
It could come earlier, of course. The first Rangers who can possibly win the league now is their home game with St Mirren on 6th of March – something that could happen if Celtic lose to Aberdeen on February 27, and Rangers beat Livingston on the road a few days later.
However, if we can take both sides’ point-per-game averages as gospel (2.73 for Rangers, 2.13 for Celtic) and assume that it extrapolates between now and the derby, then Rangers will go to Celtic Park with a chance to get the qualification.
Surprisingly, whatever happens now, the Rangers cannot go down in history as the fastest team to win the title. While no team has matched their 82 points at the 30-game mark, Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic team won the game at that crossover in 2016/17.
Mark Warburton’s Rangers underperformed the current Celtic team, and that’s what allowed Rodgers’ team to clinch the title with eight games to play.
Assuming they keep up with the Rangers between now and then, Celtic can, of course, prolong their rivals’ wait for a week or two with a win.
But whatever happens from here, the Rangers only need seven points from their last eight games.
Given that they have lost only eight in the entire season to this point, it’s fair to say that they are the favorites.