Saturday, May 07, 2011

SPL Today: Rangers v Hearts

A good week for Rangers. A good week indeed.

Back in the driving seat in the SPL after Celtic's defeat to Inverness in midweek.

And now a takeover.

A takeover! Finally an end to the most complicated, drawn out transaction since Ivana Trump demanded joint custody of Donald's hair in their divorce settlement.

A statement from the board committee charged with scrutinising the deal suggests concerns remain over Craig Whyte's intentions and means.

And we must also remember that Rangers, the most successful domestic side in world football, were sold for a solitary pound. A quid. Cheaper than a half time pie.

But the deal is done. Maybe now the supporters are left with known unknowns. It's probably preferable to unknown unknowns.

So David Murray is consigned to history. A trophy laden era that ended in the acrimony of a financial stramash.

The future, whatever it holds, belongs to Craig Whyte.

And the present is still very much in Walter Smith's possession.

I wrote last week that all Rangers could do was keep winning and keep hoping. Now all they have to do is keep winning and the title, in many ways an unlikely title, will be theirs.

Can they do it?

As I said on Thursday, both Rangers and Celtic are capable of further hiccups in their remaining three games.

Playing the day before Celtic, Rangers can lay down a marker. Slip up and they'll give up their advantage.

Three games then, three barriers on the obstacle course that is the title race.

And Hearts are first up.

I've felt since the final whistle blew in Inverness on Wednesday - and felt for no tangible reason, just a hunch - that if Rangers win today then they'll hold on to the title.

It won't be easy. A dip in form means Hearts have taken longer than expected to officially confirm third place.

That could make them more dangerous.

Certainly they can cause Rangers problems and they'll want to do just that. The "other" clubs take great delight in lobbing stinkbombs at Old Firm title aspirations, relish it like the Celtic nations enjoy halting England's procession to a Six Nations Grand Slam.

It's true that Hearts don't enjoy the same parity with the Old Firm in Glasgow as they often do at Tynecastle.

And Rangers were impressive in a second half dismantling of Motherwell last weekend.

A tough game today but one I can see Rangers coming through unscathed.

A home win and a step closer to that first title on Craig Whyte's watch.