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Have Rangers put their season-threatening slump behind them?
18 March 2017, 21:59
Have Rangers put their season-threatening slump behind them?

It was hard to predict whether Rangers would bounce straight back in their first season back in the Scottish top flight after a number of years spent rebuilding following the financial crisis that came marginally close to destroying the club back in 2012.

In their absence, Celtic asserted their authority over the league, while Aberdeen slotted into Rangers’ place as one of Scotland’s top two sides. Others such as Inverness, Motherwell and St Johnstone have all had their spells in the top three.

Aside from the top spot, which has been dominated by Celtic since the 2011/12 season, competition for second and third is certainly a more level playing field than it once was. However, for much of the 2016/17 campaign, it has seemed that the league would once again settle into the routine of having Celtic and Rangers occupy the top two spots year in, year out.

The first half of the season saw Rangers loss just three games - away matches against each of their top four rivals - Celtic, Aberdeen and Hearts of Midlothian, which put them in second place heading into the New Year.

However, despite a fantastic start to life in the Scottish Premiership, 2016 ended on a bad note, as the iconic club were handed a tough game against Celtic on New Year's Eve. Unsurprisingly, Rangers suffered a 2-1 defeat to a Celtic side that have run away with the title this season, which has since prompted a poor run of form which is now threatening to destroy what has been an otherwise positive season for the club.

Since that defeat, Rangers have lost three of their last seven matches and have taken just eight points from a possible 21. The poor run has seen Aberdeen retake second place, pulling eight points ahead of Rangers.

For now, the club still occupy one of the two Europa League spots available, but sit just six points ahead of Hearts with ten games still to play. Going by recent form, Hearts should overtake them before the season comes to its conclusion.

However, incoming manager Pedro Caixinha will be hopeful that the worst of their form is now behind them. They produced a victory over fifth placed St. Johnstone two weeks ago and followed it up with an impressive draw against Celtic at Celtic Park. They now face two easy games against relegation candidates Hamilton Academical and Motherwell, in which they will be expected to put six points on the board.

Given the format of the Scottish Premiership, which sees the league split into two halves for the final five games of the season, there are a number of difficult fixtures ahead for Rangers. They will need to be at their best if they are to hold on to a place in the top three, but given that this is their first season back in the top flight, a top half finish would be more than enough for the Gers.

Predictions for Premier League

Home team - Away team Forebet
flag_24 Sc1
St Johnstone
Rangers FC

21/05/2017 11:30
flag_24 Sc1
Partick Thistle
Aberdeen FC

21/05/2017 11:30
flag_24 Sc1
Celtic FC
Hearts FC

21/05/2017 11:30
flag_24 Sc1
Hamilton Acad.
Dundee FC

20/05/2017 14:00

Scotland Premier League - predictions, tips, statistics
1st Phase
1. Celtic FC 91 33 29 4 0 87 22 65
2. Aberdeen FC 67 33 21 4 8 63 28 35
3. Rangers FC 58 33 16 10 7 48 34 14
4. St Johnstone 49 33 14 7 12 44 40 4
5. Hearts FC 45 33 12 9 12 51 43 8
6. Partick Thistle 41 33 10 11 12 35 38 -3
7. Kilmarnock FC 35 33 7 14 12 30 49 -19
8. Ross County 33 33 7 12 14 37 54 -17
9. Hamilton Acad. 32 33 6 14 13 30 48 -18
10. Motherwell FC 32 33 8 8 17 38 61 -23
11. Dundee FC 30 33 8 6 19 33 53 -20
12. Inverness CT 25 33 4 13 16 36 62 -26

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