Rangers legend Colin Stein assesses the gap between Celtic and the Gers ahead of their Scottish Premiership return

Mark Warburton's men can now turn their attention to their first season back in the top flight.

Rangers legend Colin Stein believes that while Celtic will still be favourites for next season's Scottish Premiership title, Mark Warburton's men will not be too far away and will not need to make a huge number of changes to their squad, the Evening Times reports.

The Light Blues have already secured their place at the top table for next season having wrapped up the Scottish Championship title, and have provided an indication of what level they could be at next term by knocking their Old Firm foes out of the Scottish Cup.

And while Stein - who enjoyed two spells as a player at Ibrox - suggested that the Hoops are still going to be the team to catch, he claimed that the Gers may well be up to the challenge.

"He [Warburton] has the basis of a good team. They are all saying he needs to get in six or seven players to compete with Celtic but I don't think that's the case," he told the Evening Times.

"I think he has to build his squad up, because he only had five subs against Celtic. They have certainly got to improve a little bit but they proved against Celtic that they can live with the best in Scotland."

"It's a big ask to win the title but in the games I've seen them against Premiership teams, they don't look out of place.

"I'm not saying they will be as consistent as Celtic, Celtic get a lot of one-nothings, but Rangers are certainly a great team to watch when they are on song.

"Celtic will definitely be favourites but I wouldn't say strong favourites."

While Rangers struck a psychological blow with their semi-final victory, it appears that there may be some considerable changes that take place before the pair meet again in a league encounter.

Firstly, Celtic will have a new manager in place. Ronny Deila is set to leave at the end of the season, so the Bhoys will have a new man with fresh ideas, and potentially new signings, ready for the new campaign.

Likewise, and as Stein suggested, Warburton will surely be looking to add to the depth in his squad to make sure that they can cope with the strain of a full season in the top flight, as while they may be able to play a full-strength team in their league game against their bitter rivals, they may then have to prepare for a game against teams as strong as Aberdeen or Hearts the week after. 

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