A serious tilt for the Ladbrokes Premiership title may have to wait until next season, but Rangers are beginning to tighten their grasp on second spot following a terrific run of results.
With key men yet to return from injury, and a winnable sequence of games on the horizon, there’s plenty of reason to be confident they can win the Betting without Celtic market at 4/7.
For starters, they’ve shored things up defensively, with the six goals they’ve conceded in their last nine Premiership games fewer than that of nearest challengers Aberdeen, and fourth-placed Heart of Midlothian (who have shipped 14 times in the same period).
It’s no surprise their defence has clicked, with Lee Wallace and James Tavernier chalking up a half-dozen assists between them from full-back, while each has also contributed a key goal of their own in this Ladbrokes Premiership campaign.
Their creative quality has been counterbalanced by the tough and tenacious pairing of Clint Hill and Rob Kiernan in central defence – and with the possible exception of Celtic, the Gers surely have the division’s most talented and reliable backline.
They also have plenty of strength in depth throughout the squad, as evidenced by continued victories in the face of injury to a key midfield trio of Josh Windass, Jordan Rossiter and Niko Kranjcar.
Indeed, the stand-ins, such as Andy Halliday and Jason Holt have both slotted in excellently, as the Ibrox outfit chalked up back-to-back wins against their two closest challengers – Aberdeen and Hearts.
That symbolises one of Rangers’ greatest strengths right now. Warburton has built an effective team and a squad, as opposed to just focusing on snapping up a few high-quality individuals.
Ten different players have scored the Gers’ last 11 Ladbrokes Premiership goals, with their threat coming from both strikers like Kenny Miller and Joe Garner, as well as sizeable set-piece threats like Hill.
And the team aspect is also clearly visible in the Teddy Bears’ battling spirit.
In recent weeks, they’ve produced a 92nd-minute winner against Dundee courtesy of Harry Forrester, while Joe Dodoo’s double turned around a one-goal deficit to secure a last-gasp victory at Partick Thistle.
With Warburton’s side having already shown they’re more than a match for the Dons and the Jam Tarts, they’re unlikely to drop points in their next two games.
Those fixtures come against Inverness CT and Hamilton Academical, and the pair haven’t won any of their last 12 matches combined.
But for those willing to play the long game, it’s the 4/7 which looks to be the smartest bet of all, with nobody likely to catch the Ibrox club as they move up through the gears.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing