PUB WISDOM

Tiger Who?

Hospitable Hoops Leave the Door Open for Rangers

Sweatin' It.

Strachan: Sweatin' It.

There was a  time at the end of November, with the Rangers’ early victory at Parkhead a distant memory, when it appeared that Celtic FC may never lose or draw another league game. Celtic went on a scorching streak, winning 12 straight SPL ties.

Many people — many pundits — began to sketch out the framework of the Rangers’ obit right about then, and sharpened their pencils once more after Celtic’s one-goal win at Ibrox over the holidays extended its lead at the top of the table to seven points.

But a new trend was being established, even as Celtic was galloping out to that seven-point lead. Over the course of December and January, Celtic went just 3-2-3 in league play and has allowed Rangers to creep back within two points of first place. It seems that Celtic is just as vulnerable of late as it was unbeatable earlier. No matter what face they put on — and three straight league titles gives them considerable confidence — you can bet the bhoys are sweating bhullets.  They couldn’t even muster a goal against Caley-Thistle’s listing side. It’s not like Terry Butcher’s mere presence changes the fact that this side is in relegation position at the bottom of the table.

Meanwhile, RFC’s team chemistry is well in balance even if its books are not as Rangers reached the end of the transfer window without giving up any of the key players from the core nucleus.

So the race for the SPL title is as close as you’d like as we begin to round the final corner and line up the home stretch, thanks to the gracious gift Celtic has given Rangers — new life. The Old Firm match on February 15 — the next SPL tie for both clubs — will be huge. But it will not ultimately determine the champion. Pub Wisdom sees plenty of dicey fixtures yet unplayed for both clubs, as the SPL’s second-tier is fiercer, hungrier, and more confident than it has been in recent memory with the gap between the Old Firm and the likes of Aberdeen, DUFC, Hearts, Hibs, and others is not as great as it once was.  Much drama is yet to unfold before a king is crowned.

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