Michael Stewart: Rangers' mentality can keep them invincible in league

Michael Stewart

Rangers haven't put a foot wrong this season in their quest for the Scottish Premiership title. With 14 league games to go, it's hard to see where they are going to slip up.

There's no doubt Rangers could go unbeaten in the league. They've got such a comfortable lead that only taking their foot off the gas and getting a sucker punch could cost them.

On Sunday, Motherwell proved the quality they have in their 1-1 draw and that it's possible to cause Rangers problems. St Mirren created a shock in the League Cup as well.

But I don't think there are as many teams this season, in comparison to the recent past, who offer the chance of a real banana skin for the Ibrox side.

There are definitely a few things that are there to work towards Rangers being able to do it and I think they've got enough ability in their side. If you map out the rest of the season, I don't think there are going to be too many fixtures in there to give genuine concerns that'll push them to the edge.

Rangers are a different animal this season; they have consistency and the ability to win games when they're not playing at their best.

You think of the Hibs game at Ibrox. Hibs played really well, but Rangers were able to see it through. Then, obviously, the Celtic game, which they were on the back foot for throughout. At the weekend, they recovered from a poor first half against a rejuvenated Motherwell to still avoid defeat. It's a very good habit to have.

We're getting towards the end of January and the next couple of months are key. Rangers look like a changed outfit this season psychologically, but the experience of last season and a second-half slump can be a reminder of what can happen.

It's all about the balancing act between being confident they can go the league season undefeated but not being complacent. That's the biggest challenge. Not so much the opposition they are facing but to keep themselves fully focused. If they're able to do that then they've got a very good chance.

It is the big lead they have [21 points] that could be their undoing in going undefeated. The coaching staff and the team as a whole have to consciously guard against that. They've got everything they need. Time will tell whether they are able to do it.

'A massive sea change in power'

The wheels have come off Celtic in dramatic fashion. I don't think anyone could have foreseen them falling apart to the extent they have.

That's beyond Rangers' control. Steven Gerrard's team have gone about their business impeccably this season. You can't draw any other conclusion than there's been a massive sea change and shift in power.

You are talking about almost 50 points of a swing between Celtic's 'invincible' season and now; that doesn't happen by one team in isolation. It has to be a capitulation and a progression and that is what's happened in tandem here.

Rangers have put it all together at the perfect time, whereas Neil Lennon's Celtic have fallen apart. If you think about Celtic's run in the build up to the Rangers game [on 2 January], with the greatest respect, it was games they should've been winning.

Rangers battered them in their first test, then Celtic completely fell apart. I think that shows how fragile they have been all season.

They look like they're at their lowest ebb. The atmosphere has completely gone. It will be intriguing to see what happens next.

Michael Stewart was speaking to BBC Scotland's Scott Mullen

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