Soccer

Celtic v Rangers: The outcome of the 2017/18 SPL title already appears set in stone

Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths wheels away to celebrate after scoring his side's second goal in one of their 5-1 wins over Rangers last season.
Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths wheels away to celebrate after scoring his side's second goal in one of their 5-1 wins over Rangers last season. Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths wheels away to celebrate after scoring his side's second goal in one of their 5-1 wins over Rangers last season.

Twelve months ago the big question being asked in the build-up to the new Ladbrokes Premiership campaign was whether Rangers were ready to take on Celtic for title glory.

This time round, the only thing to ponder is just how many points in front of the chasing pack Brendan Rodgers' men will finish.

The outcome of the 2017/18 season already appears set in stone.

Given the utter domination of the Parkhead men last season - undefeated across 47 games as they wrapped up a domestic clean sweep - it's unlikely even the most ardent Rangers fan can contemplate anything other than a seventh straight title triumph for the Hoops.

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell has barely had to dip into the £30million the club banked with last season's Champions League run so far this summer.

But even without spending big, Celtic will prove too strong for their local competitors given the tools Rodgers already has at his disposal.

The loss of Patrick Roberts is a blow to their hopes of making progress abroad but the signing of Jonny Hayes from rivals Aberdeen, along with the capture of Olivier Ntcham from Manchester City, will ensure remain comfortably out in front at home.

Rangers have splashed out around £10million on the nine new players who have arrived at Ibrox this summer but the engraver would be well advised to start scoring Celtic's name onto the Premiership trophy.

The early signs are Rangers could be in for another long campaign if their shock Europa League exit to Progres Niederkorn is anything to go by.

Pedro Caixinha has made an underwhelming start to life in Scotland and he will have to hope his new recruits can gel quickly or it will be he who pays the price for another flawed recruitment drive.

TALE OF THE TAPE

RANGERSv CELTIC

Celtic strolled to the Ladbrokes Premiership title last year as the expected challenge from their city rivals failed to materialise.

Here, Press Association Sport compares how Glasgow's big two are shaping up ahead of the new season.

SUMMER SIGNINGS

Celtic - Three: Jonny Hayes, Kundai Benyu, Olivier Ntcham

Rangers - Nine: Bruno Alves, Ryan Jack, Dalcio, Fabio Cardoso, Daniel Candeias, Alfredo Morelos, Carlos Pena, Eduardo Herrera, Graham Dorrans

TROPHIES SINCE SUMMER 2012

Celtic - Nine: Scottish League winners 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017; Scottish Cup winners 2013, 2017: League Cup winners 2015, 2017

Rangers - Four: Third Division title 2013; League One title 2014; Championship title 2016; Challenge Cup 2016

CAPPED PLAYERS

Celtic - 14: Craig Gordon, Emilio Izaguirre, Dedryck Boyata, Mikael Lustig, Cristian Gamboa, Erik Sviatchenko, Kieran Tierney, Nir Bitton, Scott Brown, Stuart Armstrong, Jonny Hayes, Tom Rogic, James Forrest, Leigh Griffiths.

Rangers - 10: Lee Wallace, Danny Wilson, Kenny Miller, Graham Dorrans, Lee Hodson, Myles Beerman, Nico Kranjkar, Bruno Alves, Eduardo Herrera, Carlos Pena.

REVENUE (Last six months of 2016)

Celtic £61.2m

Rangers £16.3m

2017 TITLE ODDS

Celtic 1/10

Rangers 9/1

ODDS TO GO DOMESTIC SEASON UNBEATEN

Celtic 12/1

Rangers 100/1

ODDS TO WIN DOMESTIC TREBLE

Celtic 9/2

Rangers 350/1