If Rangers beat Celtic, they're title contenders - Clint Hill

By Martin DowdenBBC Scotland
Former Rangers defender Clint Hill
Clint Hill scored a late equaliser against Celtic last season in a 1-1 draw under Graeme Murty's management

Former Rangers defender Clint Hill believes the Ibrox side can challenge for the Scottish Premiership title if they beat Celtic on Sunday.

The defending champions hold a six-point lead having played one game less than their Ibrox rivals.

"[Rangers] will go into this game full of confidence, at home, with the crowd behind them," Hill told BBC Scotland.

"If they get a win then they seriously are title contenders. They have to be judged that way."

Rangers have won their last six games, but have not beaten Celtic in the league in their last seven meetings.

Manager Graeme Murty has taken charge twice in Old Firm games, earning a 1-1 draw at Celtic Park last season - as caretaker boss - and a 0-0 draw at the same venue in December.

"The last performance at Celtic was brilliant; they could have possibly nicked a win there," Hill said.

Scott Brown & Alfredo Morelos
Celtic and Rangers fought out a 0-0 draw in their last meeting

"They have to get out and get that win first and foremost and then hopefully the consistency will come."

Hill scored a late equaliser against Celtic last March in the 1-1 draw during Murty's first spell as interim manager.

He was taking charge of the side following the departure of Mark Warburton and ahead of the appointment of Pedro Caixinha,

Murty stepped into the breach again when Caixinha left in October, and has since been put in charge until at least the end of the season, bringing a greater level of consistency to the side.

Hill, who now plays for Carlisle United, has been impressed by the progress achieved under the former Scotland international, whose side will also face Celtic in a Scottish Cup semi-final on Sunday, 15 April.

"It's been very steady, very good progress," he said. "Everything looks to be going very well indeed at the moment.

"Obviously the big games are coming up now and these are the games that ultimately you'll be judged on at the end of the season.

Clint Hill Graeme Murty
Clint Hill believes Graeme Murty's credentials to be full-time manager have been elevated

"It's going in the right way, which is important. Obviously, the right result on Sunday and then it goes down to three points and it's a great, great race ahead which everybody wants in Scotland."

Rangers' run of six consecutive victories in all competitions is their best run since 2016, when they were in the Scottish Championship, under Warburton.

Hill believes Murty now has a strong claim to be appointed manger on a full-time basis beyond the end of the season but thinks that the title run-in will influence the decision made by the Ibrox board.

"Results and the end-of-the-season table will dictate what the club do," he added.

Jason Cummings
Rangers defeated Falkirk 4-1 to earn their 6th successive victory

"They know that they've got a great man in charge now who's found that stability, who has progressed the team to another level from last season.

"There's a lot of positives for him to take and I'm sure the club will be looking at it as well. They wouldn't have given the job to him if they didn't think he could do it.

"I'm pretty sure if he does well, challenges and gets into the [Scottish Cup] final then I'm sure he's got a great shout of getting the job.

"To judge success you need to win trophies and hopefully that's the next step for Graeme and the club."

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