THE size and quality of the squads which both Neil Lennon at Celtic and, after another summer of extensive recruitment, Steven Gerrard at Rangers have at their disposal make it easier for them to deal with the inevitable injuries and suspensions they pick up during the course of a long and demanding season.

Should either man, too, wish to rest a player he feels is in need of a break after a particularly hectic run of fixtures they almost always have a decent alternative, often more than one, available in that individual’s position.

That has certainly been evident at Parkhead of late. When Ryan Christie picked up a two game ban Tom Rogic was able to take over from him in the playmaker role for the visit of Ross County. When Hatem Elhamed needed a breather in that outing young Jeremie Frimpong stepped in at right back. They romped to a 6-0 triumph.

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The strength in depth which both Lennon and Gerrard have is the envy of their fellow Ladbrokes Premiership managers who don’t, without any exceptions, have that luxury. If their key men are unavailable it invariably has a detrimental impact on the performance of their side. That can, in turn, jeopardise their positions.

Look at Craig Levein at Hearts. He has been without Ben Garuccio, Craig Halkett, Peter Haring, Steven Naismith, John Souttar, Jamie Walker and Connor Washington this term and boy has it shown. Displays and results have both been poor.

But have the fans been understanding of the dire predicament he has been in? No, they have protested in large numbers outside of Tynecastle and called for him to be sacked.

So when Gerrard this weekend bemoaned the fact that Rangers and their city rivals Celtic both have to negotiate league matches at lunchtime on a Sunday despite playing in Europe on a Thursday night – something he fears makes his charges far susceptible to picking up injuries – it possibly didn’t generate much sympathy among his top flight counterparts.

Surely with his vast resources he can replace Alfredo Morelos with Jermain Defoe, Ryan Kent with Sheyi Ojo and Brandon Barker with Scott Arfield and win any fixture home or away? Can’t Lennon put in Greg Taylor for Boli Bolingoli, Olivier Ntcham for Scott Brown and Vakoun Bayo for Odsonne Edouard and still pick up three points? Oh, to have such problems!

Gerrard, though, is quite correct to highlight the fact that this country’s European representatives are required to play important Premiership matches little over 48 hours after returning from continental ties and absolutely right to ask the SPFL to reconsider their scheduling going forward.

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No manager whose team is vying for a title, as both Celtic and Rangers are in the 2019/20 campaign, will countenance making wholesale changes to a winning line-up. Doing so would, regardless of the standard of player brought in, disrupt their momentum and could result in a below par performance and costly dropped points.

That is why Callum McGregor ended up playing 59 times, James Forrest 56 times, Odsonne Edouard 52 times and Scott Brown 51 times last season as Celtic reached the last 32 of the Europa League and won their third consecutive domestic treble. They were too important too omit.

Even if the same side takes to the field, they will not be able to perform to the same high level so soon after an intense and energy-sapping outing and, as Gerrard points out, are at greater risk of picking up knocks.

Premiership clubs happily take the millions of pounds that Sky and BT invest to screen live matches. They understand that they often have to accept earlier kick-off times to fit in with the requirements of broadcasters. But is it really asking too much to give them a later start or rearrange a home game on just a few occasions a season? It seems quite reasonable and eminently workable.

It has been wonderful to see both Celtic and Rangers acquit themselves so well in Europe this season and has done the image and reputation of the Scottish game wonders. Everything possible, including changing where and when they have to play, should be done to .

That said, Gerrard’s desire to see kick-off times pushed back on a Sunday to give his charges a vital extra few hours to recover is non-starter. It is certainly easy to see the logic behind his argument. But playing in late afternoon or even the early evening irked fans greatly and led to crowd trouble. There should be no return to those dark days.

And another thing . . .

Those who called for Angelo Alessio be sacked after Kilmarnock’s ignominious exit from the Europa League to Welsh minnows Connah’s Quay Nomads and unconvincing start to the Ladbrokes Premiership have gone rather quiet of late.

The Italian has overcome the difficult start to his tenure at Ruby Park and then some. The Ayrshire side may not play scintillating attacking football, but defensively they are as good as anyone outwith Celtic and Rangers. They have only conceded eight goals in 12 domestic matches and have kept eight clean sheets.

Their 1-0 win over St Mirren at home on Saturday sent them into third place in the top flight table? Not bad for a man whose manner and methods were quickly dismissed by many after he first arrived.

Taking over from Steven Clarke was an unenviable task. Losing Daniel Bachmann, Kris Boyd, Jordan Jones, Youssouf Mulumbu and Greg Taylor wasn’t ideal. But could the former Juventus and Chelsea assistant go on and emulate his predecessor’s achievements? It is still early days, but there now appears a very good chance.