Advantage Rangers in the Scottish title race.

The Ibrox club might still, despite recording their first win at Parkhead in over nine years yesterday afternoon, trail Celtic by two points at the head of the Ladbrokes Premiership table.

Yet, with a game in hand at home to St Johnstone still to play in the second-half of the season they now have a gilt-edged chance to edge ahead of the current leaders when play resumes after the winter break next month and possibly win the league come May.

They will certainly be confident they can do so after dominating their city rivals for the second time three weeks, but, on this occasion, taking their scoring chances and recording a deserved 2-1 triumph. Matters are, for the first time since they returned to the top flight, in their own hands.

There have been false dawns for Rangers in the past – like their Scottish Cup semi-final triumph against Celtic at Hampden three years ago or their Premiership win over them at Ibrox this time last year – as they have sought to re-establish themselves as the dominant force in the country.

But this result felt momentous. It was clear their manager Steven Gerrard, who ran along the touchline to celebrate with his players after the final whistle punching the air and screaming in jubilation as if he had scored in a Champions League final, thought so.

Neil Lennon, his opposite number, was defiant when he spoke to the media afterwards. But he will privately be concerned with his charges’ insipid and uninspired showing. His men looked lacking in energy and devoid of ideas. They were out-thought and outfought in their ain midden.

Yes, Ryan Christie had a penalty saved by Allan McGregor. Sure, Steven Davis cleared Christopher Jullien headers off his own goal line in both halves. But few in the 58,902-strong crowd could have argued the final outcome wasn’t a fair reflection on the 90 minutes.

The defending champions punishing schedule at home and abroad in 2019 looks to have taken a heavy toll on them. They will, after a warm-weather break in Dubai, be revitalised when play resumes in January. They may be freshened up by a few reinforcements too. But they now need their nearest challengers to slip up.

The opening 45 minutes were every bit as cagey as the title race has been this season. Rangers had more possession and spent longer in their opponents’ half. Celtic possibly carved out the better scoring chances, but failed, due to repeatedly taking the wrong option at the crucial moment when they were in or around the visitors’ area, to convert.

Christie had the opportunity to put the home team in front in the 32nd minute when referee Kevin Clancy awarded them a spot kick for Nikola Katic pulling his fellow centre half Jullien at a corner.

The playmaker has been in the scoring form of his life this term – he was on top of the Celtic scoring charts before kick-off with 17 goals to his name – but he failed to find the net. In fairness, to the Scotland internationalist, it was a decent attempt. But McGregor produced an outstanding two-handed save to deny him before being mobbed by his team mates.

There was nothing wrong with Ryan Kent’s finishing four minutes later. He met a Borna Barisic cut back in the Celtic with his left foot and his sweet strike struck the inside of he left post and went in.

Lennon’s men levelled through Edouard three minutes before half-time, but their record signing knew precious little about it. He did well to shrug aside the attentions of three Rangers players with a powerful run upfield before feeding Callum McGregor. But he was unaware when his team mate’s shot struck his left forearm and spun beyond the flat-footed McGregor.

Gerrard made straight for Clancy as the teams left the field. He clearly had a few choice words to say in the dressing room as his players laid siege to their hosts’ goal when play resumed. Alfredo Morelos and Connor Goldson should both put their team ahead after being supplied in the six yard box. Katic, thought made no mistake.

The Croatian defender atoned for his earlier rashness in the 56th minute by rising above Kristoffer Ajer, meeting a corner from his compatriot Barisic and glancing a delightful header beyond Fraser Forster. He immediately ran to the tiny pocket of travelling supporters to celebrate, scarcely able to believe the time and space he had been given.

Celtic huffed and puffed thereafter, but they never looked like levelling for a second time. The home support were delighted when first Rangers striker Morelos was red carded in injury-time for a second bookable offence and then Ibrox coach Michael Beale was sent off after squaring up to the Parkhead dugout. But it was all they had to cheer.