EVENTS of the next week ought to determine whether Rangers have the wherewithal to turn a 60:40 title race not in their favour into a genuine 50:50.

Celtic remain the bookmakers’ favourites to win a record-equalling ninth successive league title. Neil Lennon, after all, not only presides over the best squad in the country but is also working with a group of players who have, for the most part, been over this ground many times before.

Still, the disappointment of their Champions League exit and the wobble in their League Cup tie against Dunfermline Athletic both demonstrated they can be vulnerable at times and that may give Rangers additional hope.

European football now looks like it won’t give either side an advantage or disadvantage between now and Christmas. Barring any unforeseen disasters – and with Scottish football you can never forecast anything with cast-iron certainty – then both clubs ought to conclude the job on Thursday night to take their place in the Europa League group stage.

That removes the prospect of Rangers playing catch-up every weekend had Celtic made it through to the Champions League and stayed on a mostly Saturday schedule. Instead, both will need to serve up their Sunday best for the next few months.

Making it through to the group stage will guarantee three more sell-out gates at Ibrox, assuming UEFA don’t again intervene. That won’t close the financial gap with Celtic but will at least provide some very welcome additional income to the Rangers’ coffers. .

Knowing that money is coming may strengthen the resolve of their board heading into what is shaping up to be a pivotal final week of the transfer window. For if there is one thing that may turn things back in their favour domestically it will be landing one or two players who could prove difference-makers down the stretch.

Steven Gerrard has not stinted in his business this summer, bringing in 10 new faces. Most have started the season in positive fashion and some, like Joe Aribo, have already hinted at significant potential.

But it is hard to pinpoint any of the new arrivals as a player who could single-handedly turn a promising side into champions. Rangers had plenty of those in the past – Brian Laudrup, Paul Gascogine and Ronald de Boer to name but three – but pushed the boat out financially to land them and eventually paid a heavy price for doing so.

Prudency is still the watchword at Rangers – nearly all of their summer arrivals have been free transfers or loan signings – but there must be a few inside Ibrox weighing up the prospect of catching Celtic in this seismic season and wondering if speculating to accumulate may be the only way to do it.

The most obvious addition would be Ryan Kent. The winger is out of favour at Liverpool and seems keen to return to Rangers following his loan spell last season. The Anfield club, though, are holding out for a permanent deal and the £7m price tag being spoken about would be the most Rangers have paid for anyone apart from Tore Andre Flo. And that was hardly an overwhelming success.

If anything, Kent represents an even greater risk for that level of outlay. At 22 he is far from the finished article but Gerrard may point towards the winger’s six goals and nine assists last season and feel that adding that to the mix could prove the difference. It is just whether Rangers can afford that sort of sum and feel it would be worth spending it.

Celtic, of course, aren’t finished either in what is shaping up to be an intriguing transfer arms race. The £25m fee from Kieran Tierney’s sale will be burning a hole in Lennon’s pocket and will surely be spent before the September 2 deadline.

The title is Celtic’s still to lose but they will be watching Rangers’ moves this week with interest, ready to react.

The first Old Firm game of the season next Sunday will give another indication of how both squads are placed. But it is what Rangers do before then that could prove the most significant action of the week.

THERE are plenty of big fights to look forward to in Scottish boxing before the end of the year. Josh Taylor will, eventually, defend his world title and compete for the Muhammad Ali Trophy, Kash Farooq and Lee McGregor will put their undefeated records on the line in a thrilling bantamweight bout, while Jordy McCorry returns to England for a crack at the Commonwealth title.

Spare a thought, however, for Ricky Burns. Scotland’s only three-weight world champion hasn’t been in the ring since last November as promised fights against the likes of Jorge Linares and Lee Selby failed to come to fruition.

His promoter, Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn, has never been busier – putting on shows almost every weekend all around the world – but Burns, and a host of other Scottish fighters like Joe Ham who would expect to fight on the undercard, have been let down by him repeatedly.

Burns is eager to get back in the ring and his large Scottish following would turn out in droves to watch him. But at 36 years old he can’t wait forever. If Matchroom can’t deliver on their promises then he needs to switch to a promoter that will.