FOLLOWING the release of the Scottish Premiership fixture list on Friday morning, supporters all across Scotland will be casting their eye over the matches to come as they try to figure out their team's chances for the upcoming campaign.

Of course, the fixture list isn't everything. In the end, everyone will play the same games (until the split, anyway). But some teams will have easier starts than others, and Rangers certainly face a difficult start to the 2019/20 campaign.

In their first four matches, Rangers will face three clubs that finished in the top five last season. The campaign begins where the last one ended - at Rugby Park, a venue that has been far from accomodating to Rangers over the last two seasons. Admittedly, Killie are something of an unknown prospect at present following Steve Clarke's departure, but will surely provide a tough opening day fixture.


READ MORE: Rangers' 2019/20 Scottish Premiership fixture list announced

It doesn't get much easier after that. The following weekend Rangers are at home, where they'll host Paul Heckingbottom's Hibernian. The club's turnaround in form once the former Leeds United manager was appointed last season was startling, and will represent a difficult test for Steven Gerrard's side. The last time the two sides met was at Ibrox, when Rangers won 1-0 despite Allan McGregor's late dismissal: the only victory over Hibs that Gerrard has achieved in four attempts. Rangers will be the favourites, but it's not an easy game by any means.

The third fixture away to St Mirren should provide an interesting indicator of how Rangers will fare against the Premiership's weaker teams this season. All too often last year, Rangers slipped up against teams in the bottom half of the league and their title bid suffered as a result. Gerrard's team won all three of their games against the Paisley club during 2018/19, and the former Liverpool captain will be hoping that history repeats itself.

Then, the big one. The first Old Firm derby of the season takes place at Ibrox after an international break, and will likely prove crucial as both Rangers and Celtic look to set the pace in the league. Rangers fans will undoubtedly be confident going into the fixture, given the fact that both games at Ibrox resulted in wins last term, and it will certainly be an intriguing fixture - as it always is.


READ MORE: Celtic, Rangers, Edinburgh Derby and more: Key dates for the Scottish Premiership 2019/20 season

What this all means is that the first four games of the season will tell us a lot about the strength of Rangers' bid for the title. If Gerrard's side finish August with 10 or 12 points, then it is safe to say that they are the real deal and will likely push Celtic all the way this season, and will be in with a real shout of finishing the campaign as champions. But if they drop points in two or three games - which is a distinct possibility - then the pressure will be ramped up, as they will likely have a lot of ground to catch up. It might only be the first month of the season, but August is already shaping up to be incredibly important to the Ibrox club.