IT has been the taboo topic for seasons now but the point will be proven in the Premiership over the next few weeks, months and years.
Scottish football and our top league needs Rangers. It has been the elephant in the room but now the Glasgow giant is back where our game needs it.
Clubs up and down the country benefitted from the Gers when they came to town on ‘The Journey’ and now they are a welcome addition to the Premiership once again.
In the top flight, some clubs have impressed in the league and lifted silverware. They were deserved triumphs, memorable days for those involved and they should inspire players and managers to strive for success this season and beyond.
But there is no question that the product overall, not in every case, has diminished in the seasons that Rangers have been making their way back from the Third Division. It contributed to the malaise that has set in here.
SPFL chief Neil Doncaster has spent recent weeks talking up the new campaign and now he has a ‘box office’ product to sell. With four Old Firm games ahead, people from outside these shores will look in with interest once again.
For four years, we have hyped up a title battle that was more handbags than a fight to finish. It has been a phoney war where the winner was known before a ball was kicked.
Celtic may well go on and make it six-in-a-row this season, but hopefully Brendan Rodgers and his players will have to work for it this time out. The last thing Scottish football needs is another canter to the finishing line and a one-horse race.
Aberdeen were touted as serious challengers but proved on more occasions why they wouldn’t be champions than why they could end their wait for the title.
They just didn’t have it in them. Any talk of the Dons, or Hearts, winning the league this time out is fanciful.
Of course, there is no guarantee that Rangers have what it takes this term either, but their presence boosts the image of Scottish football. Every league needs its biggest clubs at the top of their game.
Mark Warburton’s side still have plenty to prove and require another couple of additions, but they are better placed to become credible long-term challengers to what will be an improved Celtic than Aberdeen or Hearts are. Rangers will win the title again before the silverware travels to Pittodrie or Tynecastle.
There will, no doubt, be great stories, tales of joy and woe, across our game in the coming months. Some clubs will rightly have their moment in the limelight.
The first weekend of the season is always one of excitement and anticipation. No fan knows what lies ahead for their side and hopefully there are reasons to be cheerful for many this term. Good luck to everyone.
But now we have normality restored in the Premiership and hopefully a title battle to match some of the great head-to-heads of yesteryear. After four low-key seasons at the top end, it would be more than welcomed.
ON a similar note, spare a thought for Scotland’s co-efficient after another summer of discontent on the continent.
Our teams have become as hopeless at picking up points abroad as a British Eurovision entry in recent years and early exits for Hearts, Hibernian and Aberdeen this time around have done little to boost the numbers.
Losing to clubs from unfancied nations has now become that regular an occurrence that we really shouldn’t be shocked anymore.
We need top European action on Scottish shores once again so hopefully Hapoel Be-er Sheva don’t add their name to an ever growing list.