Former Hull striker Dean Windass suggests Rangers might be running away at the top of the Scottish Premiership because “screaming and bawling” fans have not been allowed in Ibrox this season.

Rangers have put themselves in a commanding position at the top of the Scottish Premiership standings but have done so without any fans in the stadium due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the effects of playing in empty stadia can only be speculated upon, one theory is that players are performing better without the pressure and weight of expectation from their supporters breathing down their neck.

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Windass, whose son Josh played for the Gers, has seen it first-hand how supporters can get on top of players in heated moments.

Speaking to FootballFanCast, the pundit said: “There’s no pressure on the players because they’re not getting pelters from the stands. I’ve witnessed it when Josh was there and they’re getting beat – they are ruthless.

“So when the supporters are allowed in we’ll see how good they are, like when they got beat by St Mirren, they’d have got absolute pelters from the supporters.

“So then they go into the next game with more pressure on the next game because the supporters have put more pressure on them.

“But [there are] no supporters to put pressure on them, so they go out there, there’s no screaming and bawling and getting slagged off.

“So yeah, I expect them to win the league.”

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It works either way

When you’re winning and doing well, having fans inside the stadium is brilliant because the stands are bouncing and that really translates over to the players.

However, if you hit a bad run or suffer a bad defeat like that one against St Mirren in the Betfred Cup, you just want the ground to swallow you up to hide away from those who are most critical of you.

Have Rangers done better without the fans getting on their backs? The facts don’t lie – the answer is yes.

Steven Gerrard’s men are romping away with it at the top of the league whereas if you look at Celtic, you could argue that they have not been kept in check because of their lack of fans. Would Neil Lennon still be in the dug-out if thousands of fans were calling for him to be sacked every week?

Sure, they had their protests but week after week of booing and jeering, bedsheets and the Green Brigade’s crayons would have surely sparked a more knee-jerk reaction from their board.

In other Rangers news, the Gers have let this player leave the UK for Christmas.

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