Will Rangers be able to beat their rivals Celtic again?

Triumph against Dumbarton puts the Ibrox side back in the Premiership and facing their Old Firm rivals once more

James Tavernier celebrates scoring against Dumbarton
(Image credit: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Fallen Scottish football giants Rangers are back in the big time, four years after the club was liquidated and had to begin again in the bottom tier of the Scottish league.

A 1-0 victory over Dumbarton at Ibrox on Tuesday secured the Championship title for Mark Warburton's side and means they will once again challenge old rivals Celtic in the top tier next season.

Rangers have already been installed at 8-1 to win the title - long odds, but not bad for a newly promoted team and considerably shorter than Aberdeen and Hearts, notes the Daily Record.

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The Bears will get a taste of the challenge ahead when they face champions Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-final later this month, the first Old Firm clash since February 2015 and only the second since the club's financial demise.

Victory over Dumbarton capped a turbulent four-year period for Rangers. "The road to the Premiership has been fraught with difficulty at times, off-field as much as on," writes Alasdair Lamont of the BBC.

Despite being relegated to the bottom tiers of Scottish football, the team still attracted crowds of almost 50,000 to Ibrox and were promoted from the Third Division in 2013, winning the title by 24 points.

With some of the restrictions imposed by liquidation now lifted, they were even more dominant in the rebranded League One the following season and were unbeaten to win a second successive promotion.

But the 2014-15 season in the Scottish Championship did not pan out as planned. Manager Ally McCoist quit and financial issues off the field caused more boardroom turmoil.

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley arrived on the scene and took a nine per cent stake in the club amid rumours he was planning a buyout. That prompted anger among long-suffering fans and fears Rangers were "suffering a slow, lingering death at the hands of rapacious corporate vandals".

The troubles spilled over onto the field and the Bears were denied promotion back to the Premiership, when they lost in the play-off final to unfancied Motherwell.

But after Dave King restored some stability in the boardroom, a new managerial team, featuring Rangers's first English manager, Mark Warburton, and his assistant, David Weir, guided the players to the title.

"Warburton's influence since joining Rangers in June last year cannot be overstated. He has revolutionised the team's style of play, introducing an attacking brand of football supporters have relished," says Lamont of the BBC.

But Rangers now face more questions as they retake their place at the top table, says Sky Sports. "One of their biggest fears is the ability of Dave King to hold on to Mark Warburton and David Weir as their managerial set-up.

"The other subject that is high on supporter's minds is whether chairman King delivers on his promises of investing significant cash in the playing squad."

The highly-anticipated cup game against Celtic on 17 April will give Gers fans a good idea of how far they have come and how much further they need to go as they seek a return to former glories.

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