'Title race being in Rangers' hands owes much to Clement'

Behind the mic graphic

Rangers have an opportunity in the next seven days to move five points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership with just six games to go, a situation that would have sounded outlandish in the extreme as Michael Beale exited the club at the start of October.

The fact it’s within their grasp owes much to the excellent work of Philippe Clement since taking the reins from Beale and a fair amount also to a diminished Celtic.

All of which has given us the most exciting title race since Walter Smith’s team came from two points behind at the 30-game stage to overhaul Neil Lennon’s side in the 2010-11 season.

This time, the title is Rangers’ to lose – a scenario that brings its own pressures, particularly for a squad that is largely unused to being involved in such a tussle.

Even James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Borna Barisic, John Lundstram and Ryan Jack – veterans of the 2021 triumph – haven't experienced the stresses and demands of an actual title shoot-out.

But the unfathomable home defeat by Motherwell apart, this group of players has responded well to Clement and what has been asked of them in the intervening months.

While Celtic have close to a full squad to choose from for Sunday, the return of Abdallah Sima has also bolstered Rangers, and if they can find a way to beat their city rivals and follow that up with a win at Dens Park in their game in hand, they will be sitting pretty going down the final straight.

An image detailing how to follow your Premier League team on BBC Sport: "On the app? Tap the bell icon to get news about your club sent to you. Signed in on a browser? Hit 'Follow' to stay up to date.