In years and even decades gone by a 3-0 victory at Ibrox was more than acceptable. Regardless of the quality of the opposition, managing a 35-yard thunder strike in the opening 10 minutes and following it up with two more clinical finishes would normally have been quite satisfactory. Fans would go home happy, players would smile to the camera and the manager would express cautious joy at the result.
Not any more.
The blunt truth is today’s display at Ibrox fell considerably below the stellar standards Rangers have set for themselves this season, and easily transcended the ‘struggle’ against Hibernian as the worst display Rangers have produced this season.
And Mark Warburton knows it, as do the players. It is rare fans are unhappy after their side just scored three without reply, but today they were.
Not gutted, you understand, but just underwhelmed – the spark v Raith was gone, and even the brilliant Oduwa struggled to weave his magic.
But, and here is the critical truth – for Rangers fans, players, and manager to hold an inquest into a 3-0 win shows that Mark Warburton and his players are truly starting to restore what we expect The Rangers Standard to be.
Rangers expect to be the best – no one would pretend we are there yet, but for disappointment all round after a pretty comfortable victory to permeate general emotion shows the astonishing improvement in both performance and psychology since Warburton took charge.
Warburton stated after the match:
“It was not a good afternoon. It was a good afternoon in terms of we got the three points and we’ve played six games out of 18 so that speaks for itself. But as a group we are unhappy today, we had a small inquest in there, which is great about this group of players, that we have had a small inquest after winning 3-0 at home. We fell way below our standards in terms of looking after the ball, playing fast and making good decisions.”
This is possibly the most impressive statement to come out of Ibrox since he took charge. This shows the strides Rangers are making. That the collective unity of this club and all who love it are no longer just happy winning – we need to win the Rangers Way, playing with grace, and destroying opponents who dare enter our cathedral of football called Ibrox.
Last week’s demolition of Raith showed what this group can do – and even then plenty chances went astray and 5 could easily have been 15. So today’s (comparatively) weak 3-0 win over the bottom side just was not good enough.
And now Rangers fans know that their Club will no longer accept ‘satisfaction’. It has to be what Rangers are truly about.
Being simply the best.