THOSE Rangers fans who were transformed overnight into experts on the most complex financial matters by the Ibrox club’s cataclysmic off-field implosion back in 2012 have found the arithmetic quite straightforward. 

They may, after losing to Hearts away and drawing with Aberdeen at home, have fallen seven points behind Celtic in the Ladbrokes Premiership table. 

Yet, if they win their game in hand against St Johnstone at home and the two remaining Old Firm matches they will go two points clear and can prevent their city rivals from completing a record-equalling ninth consecutive Scottish title triumph come May. Simples! Crisis? What crisis?

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There are, though, another set of figures which are not so easy reading for Rangers supporters, not to mention their board, and make their chances of being crowned champions this term seem far more remote. 

Glasgow Times:

The half-yearly Celtic results were released on Friday and show the Parkhead club remain some considerable distance ahead of their nearest challengers and in an altogether different stratosphere from the country’s other top flight clubs. 

The treble treble winners increased their revenue from £50m to £53.3m, profit before taxation from £18.8m to £24.4m and profit from trading from £6.2m to £7.1m. Their period end net cash in the bank dropped from £38.6m to £32.9m. But nobody is raiding the biscuit tin quite yet. 

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The sale of Kieran Tierney to Arsenal for a Scottish record £25m transfer fee back in August was a major factor. With Odsonne Edouard, though, improving with every game they can be confident of banking another considerable sum this close season as well. 

How much will the French forward go for? His employers will be able to name their price. There will be no shortage of interest. 

Glasgow Times:

A colleague last week, correctly but somewhat mischievously, pointed out that Steven Gerrard had actually been the largest net spender in the country last summer. He certainly strengthened significantly by bringing in George Edmundson (£750,000), Filip Helander (£3.5m) and Ryan Kent (£7m).

But Neil Lennon lavished in excess of £15m on Boli Bolingoli (£3m), Hatem Elhamed (£1.6m), Jeremie Frimpong (£350,000), Christopher Jullien (£7m) and Greg Taylor (£2.2m). Last month he acquired Patryk Klimala (£3.5m) and Ismaila Soro (£2m). 

Moritz Bauer, Mohammed Elyounoussi and Fraser Forster, who were brought in on loan from Stoke City and Southampton, won’t exactly have come cheap either. Lennon already had a wealth of experience and talent at his disposal. The Premiership is still not a level playing field. Not by a long chalk. 

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Shocks can and still do, in an era of billion pound broadcasting deals and six figure weekly wages, happen in the modern game. 

Leicester City won the Premier League four years ago despite having a wage bill that was dwarfed by those of Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United. 

Ajax reached the Champions League semi-final last season even though they had a squad that cost a quarter of those Real Madrid and Juventus, who they overcame in the knockout rounds, had. 

But is it really reasonable to expect Rangers to challenge Celtic for the league? Their first choice starting XI has shown on several occasions in the past year or so they are more than a match for the defending champions. 

But when they lose a key player, as we have witnessed in the past few weeks, the quality of the replacement who has come in has seen their performance levels dip. Over the course of 10 long months, as they pick up inevitable injuries and suspensions, that inferior strength in depth will count against them.

Glasgow Times:

Rangers have unquestionably made strides forward on and off the park. Talk of fresh investment abounds down Govan way. The Ibrox club should also land a substantial windfall for Alfredo Morelos in the close season. There are other players, like Borna Barisic, Glen Kamara and Nikola Katic, who they could, if they are so inclined, cash in on in future. 

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However, they have still posted annual losses, albeit offset by soft loans from their wealthy benefactors, of £11.3m, £14.3m and £6.7m in the past three years. The huge disparity in their financial performance with that of the team they are trying to topple make their chances of success slender. 

Glasgow Times:

WITH Scottish football in meltdown last week amid rows over BBC pundits being suspended and dodgy interview translations, the fact that Kenny Miller retired from playing at the age of 40 almost went unnoticed. 

But the former Scotland striker’s 22 year career has been quite remarkable, and not just because of its longevity, and is worthy of greater recognition. He had three separate stints at Rangers, crossed the Old Firm divide by signing for Celtic and scored goals in four different decades. 

He is by no means among this country’s greatest ever players. He was never a clinical finisher. Still, 18 goals in 69 international appearances is none too shabby. Only Ally McCoist, Lawrie Reilly, Hughie Gallacher, Kenny Dalglish and Denis Law netted more. 

Miller, who is moving to Australia to become a coach of Newcastle Jets, will be a loss to Scottish football.