Steven Gerrard's Rangers will merit recognition as one of Scottish football's greatest ever title-winning teams if they complete 'Invincible' campaign against Aberdeen

Sometime around 2.30pm at Ibrox on Saturday, Rangers captain James Tavernier will step forward and collect the Scottish Premiership trophy.

Steven Gerrard with the Glen's Manager of the Year award from the SPFL.

But it may be a while longer before the quality of his team and the imperious manner in which they have won their club’s first top flight league title in a decade is fully appreciated.

Such has been the relentless consistency displayed by Rangers since they kicked off the season with a 1-0 win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie last August, there has occasionally been the sense of a blasé regard for their unbeaten Premiership status in some quarters.

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While the enthusiasm and appreciation of Rangers supporters towards Steven Gerrard and his squad is of the fulsome variety, this is a team which also merits greater recognition from outwith its own fanbase.

Connor Goldson is entitled to savour Rangers' title celebrations more than most as the big defender has played in every minute of every match for the Ibrox club this season. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

If they can complete an ‘Invincible’ league campaign with a draw or victory against Aberdeen in their final match this afternoon, hitting the 100-point mark in the process, they will have earned the status of one of the greatest title-winning sides in Scottish football history.

Comparions with Rodgers’ Invincibles

The most obvious point of reference in any debate over their place on that list is the Celtic team which swept all before it domestically in unprecedented fashion under Brendan Rodgers just four years ago.

That ‘Invincibles’ 2016-17 season, with a record 106-point tally for a 38-game top flight league campaign complemented by lifting the League Cup and Scottish Cup to herald in Celtic’s quadruple-treble era, set a benchmark which is unlikely to ever be matched.

Rangers captain James Tavernier and his team-mates have been out of sight from the chasing pack in the Premiership this season. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

By Gerrard’s own admission, Rangers’ ongoing woes in the domestic cup competitions remain a blot on his landscape at the club. The quarter-final exits this season against St Mirren and St Johnstone were a source of huge frustration for the Rangers manager who will feel a treble was very much there for the taking.

But those setbacks should not detract from the remarkable way his team have triumphed in one of the most momentous and significant title races contested in the 133-year history of their rivalry with Celtic.

Embracing the pressure

The pressure Gerrard and his players were under to prevent their Old Firm foes winning a record 10th consecutive crown cannot be overstated. This was an epochal season for both clubs and while Celtic buckled, Rangers have embraced the unique challenge it posed.

Alfredo Morelos celebrates after scoring against Celtic in the 4-1 win at Ibrox. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

They have done so with an admirable style of football which has invariably been pleasing on the eye. Three years of diligent and intelligent work by Gerrard and his coaching staff has come to fruition in the shape of a technically and tactically adept team who combine defensive solidity with fluid, possession-based creativity.

It was little wonder that the Player of the Year shortlists of both the Scottish Football Writers’ Association and PFA Scotland have been monopolised by Rangers players.

The contenders for the awards, which will both be announced on Sunday, can all have a compelling case made for them.

Goalkeeper Allan McGregor has quite simply been exceptional; central defender Connor Goldson’s robust reliability has seen him play every minute of every game so far; captain Tavernier has contributed 19 goals and 15 assists from right-back; Steven Davis has been in vintage form at the heart of midfield; Ryan Kent has teased and tormented defences with his thrilling footwork.

But the dominance and excellence of Rangers this season is underlined by those who were not nominated but might easily have been in any other campaign - Borna Barisic has been outstanding at left-back; Glen Kamara’s stock has risen as a top class midfielder; Joe Aribo is arguably the most exciting player in Scotland on his day; Alfredo Morelos has developed into a more rounded striker.

Vindication for Gerrard

Rangers fully merit all the individual plaudits coming their way but it is as a unit that they have truly shone over the past 10 months. For Gerrard, a worthy recipient of the William Hill SFWA Manager of the Year award, getting his hands on that Premiership trophy will be tangible vindication of the restoration job he has undertaken since the summer of 2018 in making Rangers a credible force again both domestically and in Europe.

“From the outside, not many people believed I was the right person,” he reflected. “I understood people saying I was a rookie and inexperienced and that the job was too big, I get all that.

“But when Rangers came I mentioned the feeling, I had a vision and I saw that opportunity to try and get to this point of becoming a champion and getting Rangers back where they belong. Now it is about trying to add to that, trying to improve on that and that is the challenge for us all moving forward.

“It has to be (the first of many). That is the job. That is in the job description and it is also in my DNA that when you are successful, that is the time to improve.

“It is a case of enjoying this moment, of course it is, and we will enjoy it over the summer, but when we come back next season it is about resetting and basically resetting the remit. What is next? What are the next targets? What do we have to do to try and add to it? You know and I know that at this club you can’t stand still and one trophy is not enough.”

For the Rangers supporters this weekend, however, only one trophy matters. They will unquestionably reserve a special place in the annals of their club for the team which secured that desperately coveted 55th league title.

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