IT is often said that titles are won on the road. Wins picked up in tricky circumstances away from home are often accompanied by significant morale boosts, and it is easy at the end of the season to look back at two or three crucial wins away and conclude that these were the matches where a title was sealed.

The logic makes sense. After all, if Celtic pick up three points at traditionally unaccomodating venues such as Pittodrie or Easter Road - and Rangers fail to do so - the inevitable conclusion that we reach is that these are the matches where Celtic affirmed their status as champions.

However, this isn't necessarily the case. Yes, the psychological effects of overcoming a stubborn opponent on the road might well be far-reaching but it is actually home form, and not how well a team travel, that ultimately makes or breaks a title bid. At least, that was the case in the Premiership last season.

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The table above highlights each top-flight club's away record before the split last season and as we can see, there really wasn't all that much separating eventual champions Celtic from runners-up Rangers. On the road last season, both halves of the Old Firm had near-identical points hauls.

It should be pointed out that Steven Gerrard's side played an additional away fixture than Celtic did before the split but with just a single point separating the two sides, it is hard to argue that it was Rangers' away form that ultimately scuppered their title bid. For the real reason why Celtic secured an eight consecutive league win, we must look closer to home.

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As the above table makes clear, it was Celtic's ability to dominate their opponents at home that proved decisive in last seaon's title success. Again, it is worth pointing out that the champions benefitted from an additonal home fixture going into the split but, as we can see, it was Celtic's impressive home form that ultimatley got them over the line.

Of their 17 home games before the split, Celtic won 15 and drew just two. Rangers, meanwhile, dropped points on five occasions: there were two draws with Kilmarnock; one with Hibs; one draw with St Johnstone; and a solitary defeat at the hands of Aberdeen. It is these fixtures that ultimately stopped Rangers from ending Celtic's dominance of Scottish football and if Gerrard's side are to prevent nine-in-a-row, this is the key area where they simply must improve.

The good news for Rangers fans is that, the Old Firm defeat aside, Ibrox has become a truly formidable away-day this season. Hibernian, Aberdeen and Hamilton have all been on the receiving end of thrashings in Govan and no team apart from Celtic has came close to laying a glove on them at home domestically. If Rangers' title credentials are truly genuine, then this must be maintained.

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Celtic, for their part, have been even more imperious at home this season. Neil Lennon's side have only played three of their eight Premiership fixtures so far this campaign in Glasgow's east end but boast a 100% success rate - banging in 13 goals in the process - at this early stage of the season. But what is perhaps slightly concerning for Celtic supporters is the fact that the two occasions when their side dropped points at home last season both occurred under Lennon: Brendan Rodgers won every single one of his home games in the league during the previous campaign.

Away results are, of course, still important but recent history suggests that this year's Premiership title will ultimately go to the club who can make the most of their home advantage. Slip-ups at home to lesser opposition cost Rangers dearly last time around and if they are to mount a genuine, credible title bid then this is where improvement is required. It is one of football's great cliches that you must make your ground a fortress to achieve your goals but, in this instance at least, it has never been truer.