Glasgow Rangers ‘can challenge Celtic’ says King after draw in Premiership return

Rangers returned to the Scottish top-flight on Saturday and fought out a 1-1 draw with Hamilton, as chairman Dave King says what he saw inspired belief in him.

Martyn Waghorn of Rangers celebrates scoring the equaliser on Saturday in their draw against Hamilton in the Scottish Premiership. Lynne Cameron / Getty Images / August 6, 2016
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Dave King is confident Rangers can mount a credible title challenge to Celtic after watching the Ibrox side make their top-flight return.

The club chairman was back in Glasgow for Saturday’s clash with Hamilton and received a huge roar as he unfurled the Championship flag following last term’s promotion triumph.

The South Africa-based businessman was left in no doubt Rangers will find it tougher this time after a determined Hamilton side earned themselves a 1-1 draw in the Scottish Premiership curtain-raiser.

However, King was clear when he outlined his belief that manager Mark Warburton has a squad capable of taking on Brendan Rodgers’ Parkhead outfit for the main prize this season.

He told RangersTV: “Today felt like the club was back, I thought the occasion was fantastic, the energy, the support, the crowd and the buzz.

“Even outside the stadium when I came in about an hour and a quarter before it was absolutely buzzing.

“You could see everybody was just happy to be back in the Premiership and in terms of the result it was a bit disappointing and it took away a little bit from the occasion, but the most important thing is we’re back and competing where we belong.

“This year is about being back in the Premiership and making an increased investment in the squad, which we have done very substantially to make sure we competed this year.

“The objective is to compete for the title this year and then next year to hopefully be back in Europe.

“We will then scale up the investment again so that we are also competitive at the European level.

“I think this team is capable of winning the league. Obviously the resources Celtic have got in their squad are far greater than Rangers but they have resources intended to compete in Europe.

“We are not at that level yet but having said that I do think we can challenge Celtic this season.”

Warburton has signed nine new players this summer but still wants another defender and striker – and King is happy to oblige his manager.

He added: “I have been happy with the business we’ve done over the summer and today was the first chance I had to see some of the new players.

“We obviously have a high level of competence and trust in Mark and (head of recruitment) Frank McParland from last year when they brought in a lot of players and they played well.

“They have been optimistic in the level of business they have been able to do and they have brought in players they think will compete at the level they will have to over the course of the season.

“I would be surprised if we didn’t have someone coming in between now and the end of the transfer window.

“There are a couple we are working on and I think we should have some come in before the end of the window.

“We are also keeping our options open for the January transfer window so that we can reassess the position in December, see where we are and if necessary we might also do some business then.”

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