Rangers 2020/21 Season Preview: Strengths, Weaknesses, Key Man and Predictions

George Edmundson
Rangers will hope to compete with Celtic next season | Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The 2019/20 Scottish Premiership season was brought to an abrupt end, and for Rangers that meant being forced to sit back and watch as Celtic lifted their ninth consecutive league title.

Steven Gerrard's men took a step in the right direction and still have the remainder of the Europa League campaign to look forward to, but make no mistake, Rangers will not be happy until they're sat on Scottish football's throne once again.

Could the 2020/21 season be Rangers' time to shine? Here's all you need to know about the upcoming campaign.

Last Season

Rangers FC v Sporting Braga - UEFA Europa League Round of 32: First Leg
Rangers endured an up-and-down season | Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

It was another frustrating season for Rangers, who could only cement their status as Scotland's second best football team. They finished well ahead of third-placed Motherwell, but Celtic were way out in front. Again.

A 17-game unbeaten run between September and January was the kind of thing fans wanted to see from Gerrard's side and highlighted an improvement from the team on the whole - their tally of 67 points with four games to spare was better than the 66 they managed in the entirety of the 2018/19 campaign.

However, a bright start (which included a 2-1 win over Celtic in December) was effectively ruined once that run came to an end, with Rangers winning just three of their last eight games and crashing out of the Scottish Cup. It wasn't good enough.

Transfers In

Ianis Hagi
Hagi joined permanently from Genk | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Gerrard wanted to see his side improve drastically this summer, but the coronavirus outbreak has made that financially impossible. Big signings were suddenly not possible.

One of the most important part of Rangers' summer plans was ensuring loanee Ianis Hagi remained at Ibrox permanently, and they wasted very little time in sorting that out. By the end of May, the Romania international's future was sorted.

Importantly, Rangers also managed to bring back striker Jermain Defoe on a free transfer after his Bournemouth contract expired. The Englishman managed 13 league goals this season and obviously still has something to offer the team.

Apart from those two deals, it has been a relatively quiet summer for Rangers, who also added young left-back Calvin Bassey and the experienced Leon Balogun from Leicester and Wigan respectively.

Transfers Out

You'd be forgiven for not even realising Rangers had parted ways with some players. Matt Polster, Jak Alnwick, Jake Hastie, Andy Halliday, Jordan Rossiter and Jon Flanagan have all been sent through the exit door, alongside reserve goalkeeper Wes Foderingham and midfielder Jason Holt.

Instead, the main focus of this summer has been ensuring that striker Alfredo Morelos doesn't join that group.

The 24-year-old goal machine has attracted plenty of interest from across Europe, with Lille named as major suitors, but Rangers have held firm thus far.


Alfredo Morelos
Morelos has proven to be an elite striker | Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

When you look at Rangers' squad, the thing which jumps out first is their strength going forward. Morelos is rightly viewed by many as a real star, while Defoe, Hagi and Ryan Kent all contribute to what can be a terrifying forward line.

However, Rangers are also blessed with some real talent at the back. Their 19 goals conceded all year was enough to match Celtic (with Rangers playing one game fewer), and Gerrard deserves credit for organising his team well. Borna Barišić's rise to stardom continued at left-back, while Connor Goldson showcased some immense ability for the majority of the campaign.


James Tavernier
Tavenier had a season to forget | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Perhaps surprisingly, the biggest weak spot in this Rangers side last season proved to be right-back James Tavernier, who began the season as one of the league's premier talents.

The consistency which had earned Tavernier the captain's armband this season seemingly vanished as the 28-year-old was guilty of a number of major errors, and he attracted plenty of criticism for confessing that Rangers can't deal with pressure.

In Tavernier's defence, he had reason to make such claims. As we saw with the 2018/19 season, Rangers lacked the consistency required to battle for the league title. Gerrard is yet to figure out a way to keep his side on the ball for the entire season, so that's the biggest task for the boss going forward.

Key Man

Ryan Jack
Injury brought Jack's season to an abrupt end | Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

It's hard not to look at Morelos as the key to Rangers' title hopes. If he can find that season-long consistency, he has the ability to fire the team to glory almost single-handedly. However, while Colombian's impact is obvious, one player who often goes unrecognised is midfielder Ryan Jack.

After a tricky debut season, Jack has thrived under Gerrard's leadership and was perhaps the side's top performer before being struck down by a knee injury.

His leadership and energy in the heart of the pitch was crucial to Rangers' brightest spells, and it came as no surprise that the team's form fell off a cliff after he picked up that injury.


Steven Gerrard
Gerrard will want more from his side this season | Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

The outcome of Rangers' season will be decided by that all-important word: consistency.

Rangers are good enough to mount a title challenge and can be genuinely confident of competing for success in the cup competitions, and if they can remain at their best for the entire year, they could finally bring Celtic's reign of terror to an end.

If Jack can stay fit and Morelos doesn't lose his shooting boots, this could be a big year for Rangers. However, with no significant additions to the squad, it's hard to see much changing for Gerrard's side.

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