Steven Gerrard’s Rangers, with one game of the Ladbrokes Premiership season to go, are just two wins behind Celtic. Last season they finished third on 70 points, 12 off the champions.

With one fixture remaining, away to Kilmarnock on Sunday, his team have eight more points, two more wins, have scored five more goals and halved the goals against from 50 to 25 compared to a year ago.

Rangers qualified for the Europa League group stage and were far from out of their depth. Indeed, two draws with Villarreal would have been deemed good results in the days when much better players earned a wage at Ibrox.

They’ve won two Old Firm matches, both at home, having dominated one and outplayed Celtic on Sunday. They also put up a fight when a man down at Celtic Park a few months back – albeit they went on to lose the game.

The football at times has been good. Some of the goals excellent. The likes of James Tavernier, Glen Kamara, Steven Davis, Scott Arfield and the never-ageing freak that is Jermain Defoe are good enough to improve the team at least for one more season.

Those who pull the biggest strings at Celtic Park can see that Rangers are getting better and their own squad has got bigger, more expensive and worse.

They are concerned.

Gerrard has ticked an awful lot of boxes and, hands up, I didn’t think he would be as successful and finish as close to Celtic in the league.

He’s not perfect. A football legend he might well be but this 38-year-old was and still is to an extent a rookie manager. The trick in life is to learn from mistakes and not repeat them. He has shown himself to be intelligent.

He’s not too strong-willed in that he’s incapable of admitting errors and correcting them.

The Englishman now knows what he needs in that dressing room. That’s players with character rather than those who showboat and don’t fancy turning up for every game. He knows now the types to keep away from.

At Rangers, a manager can handle one or two challenging personalities, not five and six. Gerrard has from day one been honest and open in his dealings with the media. Some would say, and it did cross my mind, there have been times when he would have been better not to be so critical in public.

However, that’s his style. He’s not going to change. The players who have done well for him, especially over the last six successive wins – by far the best run of form this season – accept his way and get on with it.

Those who have almost been forgotten about have had their last chance. They won’t be taking up space in the dressing room next season. Gerrard and his staff will still make bad signings but the squad needs four or five players if they can keep everyone – not easy – which is just a bit different to last summer when 15 new players arrived.

Gerrard has also got the best from Ryan Kent who failed totally in his previous loan deals from Liverpool.

Of course, Rangers again have won nothing. They didn’t even reach a cup final. Some performances have been dreadful, the discipline awful, and more than a few signings embarrassing.

Umar Sadiq, bless him, wasn’t a footballer, Kyle Lafferty’s disappearing act is no real surprise and a four-year deal and £2m for Eros Grezda is right down there with one of the worst signings made by any Scottish club in many a year.

Celtic are on course to win the Scottish Cup. So that will be a triple Treble right there. History.

And with more money than Rangers, lots more, they should make it nine and then 10 league titles in a row. About a year I go I would have written they will win it rather than allowing for any chance of that not happening.

Now, you could argue that Rangers have only improved by a few points, that the story of the league season is that Celtic once again got their signings wrong and their schedule for the past three years caught up with a few of them.

It’s a bit of everything. Celtic, if they get themselves sorted, are going to be better next season which makes Gerrard’s job even more difficult. If he can’t stop nine and doesn’t win a cup, there is every chance he gets sacked. It’s brutal, but that’s the way in Glasgow.

However, Gerrard has won over this sceptic. He’s become a better manager over the moths. Aside from the occasional daft comment, he’s conducted himself well and seems to have grown into the job.

Gerrard has given Celtic something to worry about and perhaps that was always going to be the best he could do this season.

I do like a bet and if I had a spare tenner I would put it on Celtic to win the league next season.

As for Rangers, Tavernier could go, Kent might not return, Alfredo Morelos will be sold and for all his red cards, that’s 30 goals Gerrard would be losing.

So much can happen that it’s impossible to say with any great certainty what is going to happen. However, as things stand, Rangers are closer to Celtic than both clubs thought possible. Especially Celtic.