Glasgow Rangers’ bid to stop Celtic from winning the Scottish Premiership for the tenth time in a row couldn’t have gotten off to a better start as Steven Gerrard’s side are unbeaten in their past 23 games in all competitions, dating back to the 1-0 win over Aberdeen at the start of the season.
Rangers sit at the summit of the Premiership 11 points clear of their arch-rivals and although the Bhoys have two games in hand, it’s fair to say that Gerrard’s side are surely the favourites to regain the title for the first time since the 2010-11 season.
This should go some way towards taking the pressure off of Gerrard’s shoulders, but the Ibrox boss will know the work is nowhere near done quite just yet, as he has to balance both domestic and European competitions, with his focus now on Sunday’s trip to face Falkirk in the Scottish Cup.
We said just this month that he really needs to start playing wily veteran Jermain Defoe through the middle to share the workload of Alfredo Morelos and Kemar Roofe.
He is set to rotate his squad for the Betfred Cup clash with the Bairns, which means that the former Tottenham Hotspur striker will be in contention to start at the Falkirk Stadium.
Morelos and Roofe ran themselves ragged as Rangers squandered a two-goal lead against Benfica in the Europa League on Thursday night, so Defoe may be expected to shoulder the burden once again after the horror show at Hampden last year.
The Light Blues battered Celtic for the majority of the cup final last December, only for the Gers to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, as they were unable to secure the victory as Morelos missed several chances, before Defoe was thrown in at the deep end as a late replacement in an attempt to put the game to bed.
Whilst the result didn’t go their way, that doesn’t mean that the 38-year-old should be almost entirely written off. If anything, far from it, as he famously won the English League Cup with Tottenham in 2008, whilst he has recently made it clear that he wants to win a trophy at Ibrox. That’s exactly what Gerrard needs, winners.
The former England international has only made five appearances so far this season, but has still scored two goals and supplied two assists in all competitions, which is a pretty impressive return by any player’s standards.
Valued at £1.2m via Transfermarkt, if he is given a decent cup run, Defoe may be able to find the form that saw him score score three goals in his first four games in the same year Spurs won the League Cup, which would surely be enough to convince Ross Wilson to give him a new contract.
There’s life in the old dog yet, that’s for sure.
AND in other news, Ross Wilson must cash in on Glasgow Rangers outcast Jordan Jones in January…