James Tavernier has told the Glasgow Evening Times that he can see no reason why newly-promoted Rangers cannot rival Celtic for the Scottish Premiership title next season.
Tavernier was the hero on Tuesday night as the Glasgow giants beat Dumbarton 1-0 at Ibrox to confirm their promotion after well and truly dominating the Scottish Championship this season.
Mark Warburton's side, who sit 17 points clear at the summit, can now look forward to regular Old Firm derbies with their bitter Glaswegian rivals next term, but the question remains whether they can challenge them.
The Hoops look on course for a fifth successive Premiership crown this season as Ronny Deila's troops - who sit five points clear of second-placed Aberdeen - continue to dominate what has effectively been a one-sided division since the Gers dropped out of it in 2012.
Both sides face one another in a Scottish Cup semi-final on April 17, and not only does Tavernier feel Rangers can beat Celtic there, the defender also believes that Gers will be the "best team" in the top flight next term.
“In every game, we have to prove Rangers are the best team and next season we’ll have a lot to prove, being back in the Premiership. I’m confident with the squad we’ve got that we will do that," he said to the Glasgow Evening Times.
“Of course we can [beat them]. We’ve got a great team and we’re full of confidence. We can beat anyone when we play well. I’m looking forward to playing them in front of 50,000 at Ibrox and then going to their ground and experiencing it there.
“Obviously the next game against them is at Hampden with 50,000 split equally. I can’t wait for the Old Firm derbies next year, definitely.”
Before that semi, though, Warburton and co clash with Peterhead in the Petrofac Training Cup final on Sunday as they look to seal their second trophy this week.