How Rangers won the Scottish Premiership: 12 games that saw the title return to Ibrox

Steven Gerrard’s team have won this season’s league title with one of the best records in Europe; the title win comes nine years after Rangers' demotion to the former Third Division following administration


Rangers are champions of Scotland again for the first time in a decade with a dominant title win which goes down as one of the earliest chronological successes in the country’s history.

With 16 different scorers and the most stubborn defence the Premiership has ever seen, Steven Gerrard's side have set standards others haven't come close to matching.

But how was the Ibrox club's world record 55th title secured? Here are 12 games that swung it their way, nine years after their demotion to the Third Division.

Rangers 3-0 St Johnstone - August 12, 2020

Just a week and a half into the campaign, a 3-0 success against St Johnstone at Ibrox was by no means decisive as Borna Barisic, Ryan Kent and Joe Aribo scored. Yet with Celtic having two matches postponed after defender Boli Bolingoli breached coronavirus protocols by visiting Spain then playing against Kilmarnock without isolating, Rangers took their chance to go top of the table on goal difference from Hibernian.

While the Edinburgh side overtook them briefly the following weekend by playing Motherwell first and drawing 0-0, Gerrard's team recorded the same result at Livingston the next day and set the pace from then on.

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Highlights of the Scottish Premiership game between Rangers and St Johnstone

Rangers 4-0 Dundee United - September 12, 2020

Another home game, another comprehensive win - and this one was notable for the fact Rangers broke Celtic's 114-year record for consecutive clean sheets at the start of a Scottish top-flight season.

A seventh in succession came at a cost as Leon Balogun dropped out of the team before kick-off and Ryan Jack, Brandon Barker and Alfredo Morelos all went off injured. Nevertheless, goals from Kent, James Tavernier, Kemar Roofe and Scott Arfield secured an otherwise straightforward win.

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Gerrard's players weren't just shutting teams out, they were barely giving away chances at all - and, despite mounting selection issues, were looking strong with a three-point lead.

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Highlights of the Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and Dundee Utd

Celtic 0-2 Rangers - October 17, 2020

Despite winning the previous Old Firm fixture 2-1 at Celtic Park, Rangers' title challenge collapsed from there and they were well behind when the 2019/20 campaign was curtailed. The first derby of the new season was an opportunity to make a statement and Gerrard's players did it emphatically in a one-sided 2-0 victory.

Connor Goldson scored nine minutes into each half as Celtic failed to register a single shot on target and their unbeaten start to the league ended.

Having led by a point but with an extra game played beforehand, Rangers were suddenly four points in front and in control of the title race for the first time.

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Highlights of the Scottish Premiership game between Celtic and Rangers

Kilmarnock 0-1 Rangers - November 1, 2020

With Celtic in Scottish Cup semi-final action against Aberdeen, Rangers had the chance to move further ahead at Kilmarnock - but having lost 2-1 there on three separate occasions already under Gerrard, there was obvious danger of an upset instead.

The visitors dictated much of the contest and only scored once - captain and right-back Tavernier getting his 10th goal of the season with a penalty - but it was enough to ensure a gritty success.

Gerrard said afterwards he wouldn't look at the table but the gap was widening. His team were now nine points ahead having played twice more than their rivals.

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Highlights of the Scottish Premiership match between Kilmarnock and Rangers

Rangers 4-0 Aberdeen - November 22, 2020

A day after Celtic had to score twice in the final 11 minutes to save a 2-2 draw at Hibernian, Rangers returned from the November international break to follow up their 8-0 thrashing of Hamilton two weeks earlier with a thumping 4-0 rout of Aberdeen.

Kent's brilliance set an early tone before Roofe, Arfield and Tavernier - with another penalty - made sure of a 13th win in 15 league outings, the club's best start to a league campaign in 53 years.

With Celtic struggling for consistency at home and in Europe, Rangers were taking advantage and took their lead into double figures - 11 clear with two extra matches played.

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Highlights of the Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and Aberdeen

Rangers 3-1 Motherwell - December 19, 2020

Three days after Rangers' first defeat of the season - a 3-2 League Cup loss at St Mirren which ended their 27-game unbeaten run - it seemed the wheels might just be coming off. Having fallen behind to Callum Lang's sixth-minute goal for Motherwell, they still trailed more than an hour later.

Yet with serious questions being posed, Roofe scored twice in the last 17 minutes along with Cedric Itten to grind out a spirited win instead.

With Celtic again playing in the Scottish Cup - and having drawn with St Johnstone earlier in the month to make it just two wins in 12 competitive fixtures - Rangers were 16 points in front with three games more in the bank.

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Highlights of the Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and Motherwell

Rangers 1-0 Celtic - January 2, 2021

Once again, the home side had no shots on target in the second Old Firm meeting of the campaign - yet this time Rangers still won at Ibrox.

After withstanding a blistering first half from Celtic, during which Allan McGregor made outstanding saves from Odsonne Edouard and Leigh Griffiths, Nir Bitton's straight red card for hauling down Morelos early in the second changed the game.

With away spirits visibly fading, Callum McGregor diverted Tavernier's corner into his own goal with 20 minutes remaining to hand Rangers victory. Celtic's defeat meant their seven-match unbeaten sequence was over - and they were now 19 points adrift, albeit with three games in hand.

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Highlights of the Scottish Premiership game between Rangers and Celtic

Aberdeen 1-2 Rangers - January 10, 2021

The idea that Rangers had done the hard work in their title bid was offset by the fact they had some of their toughest away games still to play in January.

The first of those was at Aberdeen, where a Morelos masterclass made the difference. After winning a penalty only to see Tavernier miss, the Colombian scored either side of the break to claim a 15th successive Premiership win.

Another Celtic draw with Hibernian the following night - this time finishing 1-1 after Kevin Nisbet's 90th-minute equaliser for the Easter Road team - meant the gap moved to 21 points with more than four months of the season still to go.

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Highlights from the Scottish Premiership as Aberdeen faced Rangers

Hibernian 0-1 Rangers - January 27, 2021

While a 1-1 draw at Motherwell brought Rangers' winning run to an end, their third away game in January brought another win and it meant seven points from nine had been taken on the road.

Once more Morelos played a significant part, but perhaps shouldn't have had the chance to. An early stamp on Hibernian's Ryan Porteous went unpunished and would later earn the striker a retrospective three-game ban.

Staying on the park instead of receiving a red card meant he was in position to score the only goal six minutes after half-time. After another three Celtic draws, Rangers were 23 points ahead.

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Highlights of the Scottish Premiership match between Hibernian and Rangers

Celtic 1-2 St Mirren - January 30, 2021

The one thing which gave Celtic a sliver of hope in their quest for a record 10th successive title was the fact they had those games in hand to play. As they dropped points elsewhere, the outstanding fixtures became ever more important - but when they came, so too did more bad results.

A 2-1 defeat to St Mirren - the Paisley side's first in Glasgow's east end since 1990 - meant the gap stayed at 23 points with only two additional matches on the schedule.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon described the result as the lowest point of his managerial career at the club - but worse was to come for him.

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Highlights of the Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and St. Mirren

Ross County 1-0 Celtic - February 21, 2021

Having already been knocked out of the League Cup by Ross County, another reverse against the Premiership's bottom team was the final straw and Lennon resigned three days later.

With their final game in hand gone too, Rangers fan Jordan White's goal for the Highland club against Celtic meant the Ibrox side had an 18-point advantage with eight games still to be played by both Old Firm teams.

An awful start to 2021, magnified by their much-criticised training trip to Dubai, had killed Celtic's challenge entirely - and the consistency shown by Gerrard's squad had taken them to the brink of the club's 55th top-flight title.

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Highlights of the Scottish Premiership match between Ross County and Celtic

Rangers 3-0 St Mirren - March 6, 2021

Rangers went into their home game with St Mirren knowing victory there and anything less than a win for Celtic at Dundee United the following day would make them champions.

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Highlights of the Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and St Mirren

Gerrard and his squad were welcomed to the stadium by thousands of supporters and stuck to their task as they eased to a 3-0 success through goals from Kent, Morelos and Ianis Hagi.

Steven Gerrard and Alfredo Morelos celebrated with Rangers fans who had gathered outside Ibrox after their win over St Mirren

Rangers players celebrated at a distance with fans at the Copland Road gates and through the windows of their dressing room afterwards - with Celtic's 0-0 draw at Tannadice confirming a deserved title success.

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