Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton believes Rangers are building momentum under Philippe Clement and are in a title race against their Old Firm rivals.
The Ibrox side won 1-0 at Hearts to extend their unbeaten run under the Belgian to 11 games across all competitions, picking up 19 points from a possible 21 in the league.
Celtic, meanwhile, have picked up 17 points in the same period but remain eight clear of Rangers – albeit having played a game more – ahead of the December 30th meeting between the clubs in Glasgow’s East End, live on Sky Sports.
“This period of games, they come thick and fast until the break,” said Sutton. “It is a really important period.
“Celtic haven’t been at their very best, Rangers need to make sure they don’t drop silly points – which they did at Aberdeen.
“I do think there is a title race on this season, I do. They’ve got the European fixture coming up but a big three points for Philippe Clement.
“I don’t like it because Rangers have got a manager now who just seems to talk common sense!
“They are heading in the right direction and building momentum under him.”
Speaking on Sky Sports News, former Celtic defender Mark Wilson added: “When you look at Philippe Clement’s 11 games in charge, Rangers are definitely harder to play against. They’ve only conceded five goals in that period – they score more too. It is going well at both ends.
“Clement has made a difference from what Michael Beale left behind. When you look at the month of December, Rangers have got six games to squeeze in before they meet Celtic on the 30th. Some huge games.
“Rangers have to be in touch with Celtic come that game in late December.”
‘Aberdeen form not good enough’
At the other end of the table, Aberdeen’s defeat at Kilmarnock saw Barry Robson’s side drop into the relegation play-off spot after a third league loss in four games.
The Dons have won just three games from 14 in the Scottish Premiership – leaving last season’s third-placed side now just three points off bottom spot.
Robson admits ‘there’s no excuse’ and added his side ‘need to start picking up points’, with their next game at home to Hearts on Saturday.
Wilson – who was team-mates with Robson at Celtic – told Sky Sports News: “To be sitting second bottom of the table in this period, just before Christmas, isn’t good enough.
“There’s stress on Barry Robson’s shoulders, but he’s got a cup final around the corner. Balancing European football with league football has been a bit of a stretch for this side.
“The calendar has been jam-packed and the Aberdeen squad haven’t dealt with that particularly well. They need three points at the weekend to alleviate some of the pressure. That cup final against Rangers next week is crucial too.”
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