RANGERS certainly struck an important psychological blow in the race for the Ladbrokes Premiership with their performance against and victory over Celtic in their final game before the winter shutdown last month.

However, have the Ibrox club also gained an edge over their Parkhead rivals since then with their activity in the January transfer window?

Their supporters, who were already on a high after their narrow but richly-deserved win in the second Glasgow derby of the 2018/19 campaign, have certainly been buoyed greatly by the arrival of Steven Davis and Jermaine Defoe on loan.

Davis, the Northern Ireland midfielder who has joined from Premier League club Southampton, and Defoe, the former England striker who has arrived from Bournemouth, have both played at a high level for club and country in the past and both, the latter in particular, have star quality.

There is nothing quite like the arrival of a big name, even one whose best days are behind him, to excite fans. Coming after such a morale-boosting win over their city rivals, their first in 13 games and their first in the league in nearly seven years, the sense of anticipation ahead of the second half of the season is now palpable.

The view, or perhaps that should be hope, being expressed by many followers of Rangers is the balance of power in Scottish football is slowly but surely changing.

If Davis and Defoe - and it remains a big if given they are 34 and 36 respectively and have played little first team football in recent months – can perform to the same high standard as they have in the past they will unquestionably improve Steven Gerrard’s side and ensure they maintain the pressure on Brendan Rodgers’ team.

But can the duo, along with the other new recruits who were brought in during the summer, help Rangers end Celtic’s supremacy in Scottish football and lift the Premiership trophy come May?

Much will depend on what business the double treble winners, who have been accused of growing complacent after years of strolling to comfortable league wins in the wake of their abject display in Govan, do in the next few weeks.

The criticisms which were levelled at them after their disastrous summer recruitment drive – that they failed to strengthen sufficiently and have regressed as a result – certainly seemed valid as they were outthought and outfought at Ibrox.

Odsonne Edouard, their record £9 million signing, has justified the substantial outlay on him by scoring 14 goals in 34 appearances in all competitions. At just 20, the French forward will only mature and improve. Filip Benkovic, the Croatian centre half who has come in from Leicester City on loan, has also done superbly. But Daniel Arzani, Emilio Izaguirre and Youssouf Mulumbu have hardly featured.

Their imports last term, Kundai Benyu, Marvin Compper, Jonny Hayes, Jack Hendry, Lewis Morgan and Charlie Musond, have hardly been resounding successes either. Will Vakoun Issouf Bayo, Oliver Burke and Timothy Weah fare any better in the coming months and make a tangible difference to their new employers? Time will tell.

The only household names that Rodgers has brought in since being appointed manager back in 2016 have been Scott Sinclair and Kolo Toure, who had soon retired, in his first season. Celtic prefer to identify younger players with potential who can be developed over time and then sold on for a tidy profit. It is a business plan which has, as their bulging trophy cabinet and healthy bank balance testifies, proved enormously successful to date.

The return of Kieran Tierney, Tom Rogic and possibly Leigh Griffiths will aid Celtic’s cause greatly in 2019. But do they need to review their longstanding signing policy and invest more heavily in this transfer window to keep their hopes of an eighth straight title and a third successive treble alive?

Football is won and lost as much in the boardroom as on the training ground and field of play in this day and age. The coming months will determine whether the Celtic directors or the Rangers hierarchy have been triumphant in that crucial battle.