And having accounted for Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-final on Sunday, a matter of days after clinching a place in the last four Europa League against Braga, the Ibrox club’s former full-back Alan Hutton maintains they can now dare to dream of coming up trumps on three fronts. Rangers’ best chance of silverware from an uneven campaign will be the Scottish Cup decider that will pit them against Hearts on May 21. Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men have an altogether more exacting assignment awaiting on the continent, where RB Leipzig will stand between them and a Europa League final. Their title chances appear remote with six points and a 19 goal difference separating them and Celtic at the summit of the cinch Premiership going into the five post-split games, but Hutton believes the stickability they have shown in the past week means nothing should, or will, be given up on by his old club.
“Had they been beaten both in Europe and by Celtic, the season was effectively done,” he said. “But it is the opposite and it can kick Rangers on now. They know the league is going to be difficult. But the semi-final was an absolutely massive result. Under pressure after back-to-back defeats against Celtic and they needed a big performance. They got that, so you never know what can happen in the league. There are still five games left, and it is up to them to go and put down a marker. Celtic have to go and get it over the line. Rangers are now going to be chasing them all of the way.
“I was a young boy when Giovanni was at the club, but I know how much it means to him. He played for Rangers and is now the manager, so back-to-back defeats from Celtic, he would not have liked that. You could see the emotion from him at Hampden, what it meant, so he’ll want to kick on from here. Rangers players are judged on what you win. You have to get silverware. The semi-final was a big statement, having gone from extra-time against Braga and into extra-time against Celtic. So it is up to them to chase Celtic down now.”