Expectations of an unbridgeable gap developing between Rangers and Celtic may not yet have materialised - but they could be a step nearer reality in six days' time depending on how this weekend's games and Wednesday's Old Firm collision at Parkhead (which will be live on CABLE Sports) pan out. It is a crunch period in the Glasgow rivals' race for the title and this time next week could see Rangers 14 points clear or, alternatively, Celtic having closed the gap to two points. Before the derby showdown come this weekend's fixtures with Rangers home to St Johnstone tomorrow and Celtic at Hibs on Sunday. The widespread claim that the Scottish Premier League championship would be nestling once again at Ibrox before February was out has not quite come to fruition. Forecasts to that effect were based on Celtic's halting form in the latter days of John Barnes' tenure as head coach and, more emphatically, on the assumption that Rangers would sail serenely through their fixtures as their great rivals foundered. This prognosis took no account of the potential difficulties confronting Dick Advocaat over the unavailability of a telling number of influential players. If Celtic have had problems in that department this season, Rangers have had them in spades. They do, however, have a much deeper squad than their rivals in the east end of the city. Ever since Michael Mols hobbled out of the Champions' League match against Bayern Munich with cruciate ligament damage it has been like an episode of ER at Ibrox. Billy Dodds has joined long-term casualty Jonatan Johansson on sick parade and Gabriel Amato departed for Gremio of Brazil, leaving Advocaat with Rod Wallace as the only striker fully fit and properly wound up. A pair of drawn matches against Hibernian and St Johnstone suggested the Treble winners might be slipping but then came their explosion of goals at Dens Park last Sunday. Right on cue Chilean Sebastien Rozental, a seemingly permanent injury case, returned to action in time for the awesome 7-1 demolition of Dundee on Sunday, celebrating his return with a goal in the rout that also included a Wallace hat-trick, two by Tony Vidmar and one from Jorg Albertz. To be fair to Advocaat, he has hardly used the injury crisis as an excuse for lowering his own expectations, and he still anticipates securing his second successive title. 'Of course, you can have a little dip in form and you have injuries,' he said, 'but that does not mean we have to accept them. 'I could live with drawing the Hibs match, because the weather and the conditions were not great and the opposition are always tough on their own ground. But at St Johnstone, it was our commitment that was less than we require, and I won't have that. I always feel that if we do our work properly we should have the class to win whatever the injury problems - and that applied against Dundee.' Even while Rangers' players were accumulating hours in treatment rooms and doctor's surgeries the club were still wheeling and dealing in the market to snag Turkey's Kerimoglu Tugay and Dutch defender Fernando Ricksen (al-though he will not join until next season). They have also sold centre half Colin Hendry to Coventry, Advocaat proving happier with the Lorenzo Amoruso and Craig Moore combination. Celtic, meanwhile, have been quiet. Barring the return of Tommy Burns as assistant head coach and the departure of Ian Wright to Burnley all has been calm at Parkhead. Their only good news has been the earlier than expected return to training of Henrik Larsson whose broken leg, sustained against Lyon in the UEFA Cup, was originally thought to be a season-ending injury. Wednesday's game will be the third Old Firm clash of the campaign. Rangers won the first 4-2 at Ibrox and the second encounter was a 1-1 draw at Parkhead. Dundee have served as a yardstick for comparing the Old Firm recently as Celtic have played them in their two most recent league matches. The Hoops won 3-0 at Dens in Kenny Dalglish's first game in charge. Then, this past Wednesday, they followed Rangers' lead and pummelled the Dark Blues 6-2 at Parkhead. As with Rozental for the Gers, Celtic also welcomed back a 'forgotten' man in the shape of Tommy Johnson who scored a hat-trick, along with a Mark Viduka double and one from Stilian Petrov.