'Huge difference' - Michael Stewart identifies key contrast between Rangers and Celtic after latest title race twist

Michael Stewart has argued that Rangers’ improved movement in attacking areas is making a “huge difference” in their bid to be crowned Scottish Premiership champions this season.

Rangers Manager Steven Gerrard and Celtic Manager Neil Lennon. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Rangers Manager Steven Gerrard and Celtic Manager Neil Lennon. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The Gers cruised to a 2-0 win over Livingston on Sunday afternoon thanks to a brace of first half goals from Jermain Defoe and Joe Aribo.

Earlier in the day, Celtic dropped points against Aberdeen at Pittodrie in a 3-3 draw after being denied the win by a late Lewis Ferguson penalty.

Rangers: Get the latest team news, match previews and reports

Rangers: Get the latest team news, match previews and reports

Those results allowed the Gers to move six points clear at the summit of the table.

And Stewart is of the opinion that an increased level of intensity and incisiveness against sides who set out to frustrate Steven Gerrard’s men has been key to their early season advantage.

Speaking on BBC Sportscene about Sunday’s clash at Ibrox, he said: “At the moment, Rangers are playing full of confidence.

"When they get into these [attacking] areas, last season and on occasions in the season before, it would be a little bit too slow. It would be a bit predictable.

"But you see here, they’re injecting pace into the attack. It’s one-touch, lots of interchange. At the moment, when you contrast that with what Celtic are doing, there’s more pace in the Rangers attack, more movement off the ball, more offers for the person in possession and who they want to pass to.

"These things make a huge difference, especially when you play against teams who are going to camp and who are difficult to break down. Running off the ball is the thing that Rangers have got at the moment, whereas Celtic are struggling with that a little bit.”

Both Glaswegian clubs have scored 28 goals in the league so far this season, although the Hoops do have a game in hand over their city rivals.

Rangers have drawn a blank just once in the Scottish Premiership since the beginning of the campaign, being held to a stalemate in the reverse fixture against Livingston back in August.

By contrast, Celtic failed to find the net for the first time this term in last weekend’s 2-0 Old Firm defeat against the Gers at Parkhead.