Glasgow Rangers host Old Firm rivals Celtic at Ibrox with Steven Gerrard hoping to lay an early marker down in the Scottish Premiership title race.

Glasgow Rangers cult hero Ian Durrant believes that the gap between the Ibrox club and bitter rivals Celtic has been “closed” thanks to Steven Gerrard’s “quality” recruitment in the summer transfer window (Sky Sports News and The Scotsman).

Last term, Rangers finished second in the Scottish Premiership behind the Hoops, but over the summer, Gerrard has been busy in the transfer market and signed several key players, such as Jordan Jones, Steven Davis, Greg Stewart, George Edmundson, Joe Aribo and Filip Helander, plus Sheyi Ojo and Andy King on loan.

In addition, the Ibrox camp has not lost any key players, while in contrast, the Hoops have not done quite as much so far in the market, and also lost full-back Kieran Tierney to Arsenal, and although both sides have begun brightly domestically, the first major test will come this weekend when Rangers host Celtic at Ibrox.

Rangers won both league fixtures at Ibrox against the Bhoys last season and Durrant, who was pivotal in Rangers ending their last barren run back in the 1980s, is optimistic as Gerrard’s charges aim to win their first league title since 2011 and end their bitter rivals’ hopes of nine in a row.

“With the quality of players Steven [Gerrard] has brought in, they’ve closed the gap,” Durrant, who also coached Rangers and was briefly caretaker manager at Ibrox, is quoted by Sky Sports News as saying.

“When the fixtures come out you always look in anticipation for the first Old Firm game and I think you always want a home game to start off with. Sunday will not be the be-all and end-all – but it could lay a marker down for whichever team wins the game.”

In conversation with The Scotsman, meanwhile, Durrant said: “The quality of the team and squad has improved but there is no getting away with it now for Steven. Last season, he got away with it being a rookie manager. He tried a few things but he knew he was short. The club have backed him up this year and they now have a strong first-team squad of 22 players.”

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