Arfield: Rangers revival under Clement has opened up title race

The former Rangers favourite says the next derby looks 'massive'.

Scott Arfield believes Rangers’ form under Philippe Clement has opened up a title race that looked unlikely before the Belgian’s arrival at Ibrox.

Rangers are unbeaten since Clement was appointed in October and have dropped only two Premiership points in his eight games in charge.

That, coupled with Celtic’s defeat to Kilmarnock on Sunday, means the gap at the top of the table has now narrowed to five points, with Rangers holding a game in hand over their rivals.

Arfield has been delighted to see how his old club has bounced back since a poor start to the season and Michael Beale’s sacking, and thinks that Rangers are certainly heading in the right direction.

“The stint with Mick didn’t go as planned,” he said. “The new manager has come in and seemed to get that bounce.

“So it seems as though they are going for it now and back to where they should be.

“It’s huge. If you looked at this two months ago you wouldn’t have said that this would happen but it’s Scottish football and this is what it throws to you.

“If you read everything that everybody is saying then the league was already done but it’s proved to be very, very different to that.

“It’s all about winning the games and setting up a massive game on the 30th at Parkhead.”

Rangers have a more immediate concern though, with the first silverware of the season up for grabs when they face Aberdeen in the Viaplay Cup final at Hampden on Sunday.

Arfield, who was speaking to promote Viaplay’s coverage of the game, believes victory could be a springboard to more domestic success.

“If they win the cup on Sunday, that could give them a real boost,” he said. “Then they go to Celtic Park on the 30th of this month and, anything could happen, you could potentially go top of the league.

“That would be a huge boost and it’s well within their capabilities to do so. Everybody knows how good Celtic are but if they can get it down to two points, you can certainly get momentum with it.

“It’s encouraging that they’re picking up results, especially with the number of injuries they’ve got to key players. Obviously they had a mishap (1-1 draw) up at Aberdeen but I think they should be encouraged by the form they’ve got since the new manager came in.

“It seems like they’re going for it now and getting back to where they should be. And then when they get more players coming back from injury, that could certainly propel them into really trying to win that title.”

Arfield’s former Old Firm opponent Scott Brown thinks Celtic will be able to recover from the weekend’s upset, with the fact that games are coming thick and fast a positive for the Premiership champions.

“It’s only one game and everybody wants to turn it on Celtic now,” Brown said. “There’s a lot of strong characters in that dressing room. They know what they need to do.

“They’re still top of the league and still in a healthy position. It’s the first league defeat of the season.

“It’s about not worrying about outside and what’s being said but to make sure everything that’s said in-house stays in-house.

“They work extremely hard and they will bounce back. They know they are top quality players and they know they have the strength in depth, and the manager, to go and do it.

“I’m sure they will bounce back no problem.”

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