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Ibrox has been a fortress for Rangers in recent years
Celtic and Rangers have easily been the most successful Scottish club sides in recent years but could this  be the season that the 'Old Firm' pair are broken up?

The Scottish Premier League campaign is now underway and champions Rangers are hoping to secure a fourth successive SPL title.

Celtic will obviously be looking to end this mini spell of dominance by the side from Ibrox and the battle between these two sides will no doubt be exciting to watch, however, the likes of Aberdeen and Hearts will be looking to disrupt the cosy and familiar feel to the summit of the SPL this season.

Rangers kicked-off the season on Saturday at Ibrox where they were held to a 1-1 draw by Hearts. The SPL champions looked a little rusty and it was Hearts who looked the more dangerous side but an improved second half display ensured that Rangers' 'flag day' wasn't completely spoilt by the side from Midlothian.

Celtic, however, looked flawless in their 2-0 victory over Hibernian at Easter Road. The home side didn't create a chance in the entire ninety minutes of football and goals from Anthony Stokes and Ki Sung-Yueng were enough to claim the three points for the side from Glasgow.

The Old Firm have sent out contrasting messages in their opening fixtures with Rangers showing that perhaps they aren't 'untouchable'. Celtic, on the other hand, have shot out of the blocks and Neil Lennon's side will be hoping that their performances continue to be of the highest quality.

For the sides looking to dethrone the Old Firm, history isn't on their side. Since the SPL was formed in 1998, there has only been one occasion when the league's 'Top Two' didn't feature both Celtic and Rangers.

Hearts were the side who finished runners-up in 2006 and, with an encouraging start to the season yesterday at Ibrox, they will fight hard to replicate their performance of 5 years ago.

However, by pulling out more statistics from the archive, the task looks even trickier for the chasing pack. Since the SPL's formation, the league's 'Top Scorer' has either represented Celtic or Rangers and, even more astonishingly, only once has either the 'Players' Player of the Year' or the 'Writers' Player of the Year' award gone to a player outside of the Old Firm, that being Hearts' Craig Gordon in 2006.

The Scottish Premier League has come under fire a lot recently after years of what some critics describe as a 'lack of a competitive edge'. The two main sides in Celtic and Rangers have more money to spend on players and wages with television money and the injection of cash from entry into European competitions but this stems from a lucrative history and the other SPL sides must build over time if they are to topple Scotland's two most successful club sides any time soon.
 


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