Is Sunday’s opener at Fir Park “must win”?

 Article by: Ibrox Noise

Bears of a certain vintage will know that even the worst starts have been overcome in a season and the side prevailed victoriously.

89/90 started woefully. St Mirren came to Ibrox and won, decking Chris Woods out for a month in the process, before Rangers got equally gubbed at Andy Goram’s Hibs a week later. Indeed, Celtic were top after match two, and Rangers were rock bottom.

It was not until the first Old Firm clash of the season at Celtic Park that Rangers finally stuttered into life with a world class bullet header from Terry Butcher which earned the travelling support a point.

Thereafter Rangers went onto win the title and the rest as they say is history.

So yes, a bad start does not always mean a bad end. But Rangers went into 89/90 as the justified champions, aiming for 2IAR – these days the climate is a wee bit different.

So we do urge a slight air of caution about the next comment, but nevertheless there is just a slight feeling that Sunday’s season opener against Motherwell is one of the most critical opening days in as long as we can remember.

With last season’s woes still fresh in the mind, and this being Rangers’ third competitive outing of 2017/2018, there is a distinct amount of pressure, something captain Lee Wallace not only admits, but welcomes. He wants that pressure, that pressure to perform, to win, and while he attracts some ire from some sections of the support in context of his captaincy, these comments are from a True Ranger.

We should demand perfection. We should demand the win. And anyone happy with second place is a new philosophy I cannot identify with.

And Sunday is pressured – make no mistake. The friendlies have been so encouraging of late – us fans buying into what our Portuguese manager Pedro Caixinha is trying to do – with two wins and a draw, it is a far cry from the first half of summer with losses to Niederkorn and St Johnstone to wallow over.

So we travel to Fir Park and quite frankly if this Rangers team is to fulfil the cautious promise it has shown recently, it must win, and it must win convincingly.

I do not demand 5-0, although that would be nice, but a solid victory by a side who have a clear plan and play with an evident ethos is the least the support deserves.

Start off on a bum or underwhelming note and it is back foot already. Rangers fans have suffered enough, and now have something akin to the birth of a team we can start to believe in – we are investing in Alves, Cardoso, Dorrans, Jack and Candeias – they have all really impressed the support, and Pedro’s turnaround has equally got some doubters thinking again, including ourselves.

But anything less than a good win on Sunday and that welcome pressure to perform becomes unwelcome demands and frustration.

We hope we have plenty to cheer about come full time.


  1. Lose that one and the pressure is cranked up 20 times – do not want to be chasing and losing ground from the off – when you do not have hope you have nothing.

  2. Sick of the sack pedro brigade so would say must win just so im not reading the doom and gloom lot!!

  3. This is a completely different ball game from the friendlies and the new guy's will have to be up for it. a one nil victory will do me fine.

  4. I think realistically that it's not just the M'well game that's a must win – but Rangers really have to win all their games in the run up to the first Old Firm game – so that we are going in to that game on an equal footing with Celtic. Anything less and the pressure will build on Caixhina again.
    Rangers won't beat anyone 5 – 0 this season. While we seem to have shored things up at the back it remains difficult to see where the goals are going to come from – especially against teams who will sit in. Candieas looked impressive in the three friendliest against better teams who took the game to us – but less so against Progres where we had to break them down. He is no tricky winger – but is more like O'Halloran in that his greatest attribute is pace when it can take him behind a defence – easier to do against a team that comes out. Herrera – in all three friendlies I honestly can't remember him having a shot at goal, while Morealis I think is raw and currently a little out of his depth. So for my money we will be harder to beat and that's a start – but still some work to be done at the other end.

  5. Thinking back to the 60's I can rarely remember the Gers getting off to a flyer, but I'm hopeful that with Alves in the team now we'll do well(no pun intended) on Sunday. It would be interesting to know what Bruno thinks of Moult after he's played against him. Maybe he'll recommend him to Pedro, or maybe us bears will content ourselves not to go for him. Mon the Gers

  6. Motherwell will have an intensity about them that Sheff Wed maybe didn't (not for 90 mins at least), so Sunday for me is about how quickly the new defence adapts to what's thrown at them. Alves and Cardoso both look solid in the air, so I'd expect Well to try to challenge Alves for pace. Our new guys will already be briefed on how little time they can expect to have on the ball, but it'll be interesting to see how they adapt to the Scottish game. I think they'll handle it without too much bother, but Well have some good players.

    I'd rather see Hodson at RB, but if Tavernier plays I hope he leaves the marauding runs to Candeias. Like everyone else, I worry about where the goals will come from. Having said that, I think we carry a bigger threat from set-pieces than we did last season (e.g. with Krancjar back, Dorrans' free-kicks, plus the aerial power of Alves, Herrera et al). Also, in the first few games at least, I'd expect teams to come at us and see what our new players are made of; hopefully leaving more spaces to open up for our strikers.

  7. First or second game of the season if you ignore the friendlies, how we are able to assess anything is beyond me, not because I don't want and wish for success, it is just like we have been here before, unknown manager in reality, some good looking signings, great talkers, Alves apart, think he will do that on the park but some others, I am a bit apprehensive about, we shall see, personally the biggest chance we have taken is with Ped, he has just not been tested, but hope I am wrong and the powers that signed him know their stuff, unlike when they signed Warburton. J

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