RANGERS have landed a punch on Celtic this season – and credit to them.
But it’s Aberdeen the Gers have to be wary of if their title hopes aren’t to be dealt a knockout blow.
I’m serious here. I’m not saying it for effect.
If Steven Gerrard’s men lose to the Dons on Wednesday while Celtic pick up three points against Hibs, I reckon the Gers will have no chance of winning the Premiership.
The gap will be too big.
After all the talk of a title race, it will be a real shame for the Gers to fall out of it this early into the New Year.
Stevie G has ensured Rangers have made real strides this season.
Particularly at home, they look a real team.
But on the road, things have been different – and Pittodrie has never been a friendly venue for the Light Blues.
It’s been even less friendly than it might have been this season too.
Why? Go back to the first weekend of the campaign and you’ll find the reason.
It looked like a juicy match to kick off the season – the Dons against the Gers in the Granite City.
Celtic’s closest challengers for years against Steven Gerrard’s new-look side.
In the end, Aberdeen claimed a 1-1 draw thanks to a last-minute equaliser.
But then Gerrard dropped a bomb and detonated the feud that has fuelled the Dons this season.
The Rangers boss insisted his side had been “a class above” their opponents.
Talk about writing the opposition’s team talk for them!
In the two games since between the sides, Aberdeen have been victorious twice.
So I can’t help but wonder whether Stevie G regrets that comment now?
Aberdeen have rightly seen themselves as Scottish football’s second force in recent years.
They have earned the right, with multiple second-place finishes, a League Cup win and plenty of Cup Final outings.
Being told they weren’t in Rangers’ class just one game into the new season must have really stuck in their throats – particularly given the match was drawn.
Their results against the Gers since certainly suggest as much.
So make no mistake, Wednesday night’s clash is absolutely enormous.
There is pressure on both teams.
Aberdeen want to keep proving themselves as the closest side in the country to Celtic.
They also want to get one over on Rangers.
Meanwhile, the Ibrox club are desperate to stay on the Hoops’ heels.
They are also keen to show that their transfer business in January has made them stronger.
We’ve all read the coverage about Jermain Defoe and Steven Davis’ arrivals.
We all know they both have serious Premier League pedigree.
But Wednesday night will be Defoe’s biggest test yet in Scotland.
It will also be a test for Alfredo Morelos, whose hot-headed streak has seen him red- carded twice in the league against Aberdeen this season.
The Colombian also missed Rangers’ League Cup semi-final with the Dons through suspension.
So the onus is on him more than most to show that he can inflict damage on Aberdeen, rather than on himself and his own side as in previous games.
If he can screw the nut, Rangers are in with a shout.
If not, I can see the Dons doing some damage of their own.