If feedback on recent Ibrox Noise articles is anything to go by, we’re a grumpy old bunch at IN Towers.
The overriding consensus from those who have been unhappy with the output is we’ve just been too negative. And it is true – following such a poor display, we have felt our optimism dwindle a little bit.
Bear in mind, the past month and a half this site has been 99% positive, praising recruitment and the appointment of Steven Gerrard, but we always urged caution about his merits for the role.
And that is still a reasonable position to take – to not blindly expect brilliance but to be aware a risky appointment is exactly that.
Our problem of late is that us Rangers fans are a demanding lot – reaction to last night’s display was emotional meltdown from half of the support, with the other half just happy we were through.
We count ourselves in between – we are truly delighted to be in the second qualifying round, and there were positives from the display on Tuesday, particularly in defence and with Ovie Ejaria’s cameo, but the overall quality of the performance was lacking.
Perhaps we have emphasised that side too much, and not looked at the outstanding Allan McGregor enough, or indeed the three in front of him in Flanagan, Katic and Goldson which looks a truly immaculate defensive trio, albeit tougher tasks lie ahead.
We take this point entirely – we are in the second round, our defence is looking the best it has for years and there are surely still great signings to come.
We are also very excited for both Coulibaly and Sadiq who could be absolutely huge upgrades to what we have.
But we also have to be wary that many of the glaring shortcomings from last season remain ever present. The lack of quality in midfield and attack was significant – while we have a pile of decent engine room men, it isn’t translating into dominant central displays yet, and attack is patently poor.
We struggled against a very, very weak team, and while it’s still early in the season, a touch of research would also show that our opponents Shkupi are a team in transition themselves – following a recent takeover, they’re rebuilding their entire squad not unlike us, so that puts some context into both teams’ displays.
Of course, there is theoretically plenty of time to work on the things that don’t work – but time is not something liberally allocated at Ibrox.
So many responses we have are ‘why won’t you just support and give them time?’ – the truth is there will be outrage, rightly or wrongly, from a large portion of the support if come October we are pretty much where we were last season. If we find ourselves in third or worse.
What we do pin our hopes on is the new signings – we are truly impressed by at least five of them, and we can argue Glenn Middleton is technically a sixth. If we build around that, see Sadiq and Coulibali integrate well too, and compliment them with further quality additions, and utilise it all correctly, the future bodes well.
But both scenarios are ifs and buts.
We can’t predict the future, and despite the slow and unconvincing start there is plenty scope for things to turn round. After all, the defence wasn’t overly great for the first leg and in one week that seemed to get heartily resolved. So there’s plenty slack for improvement elsewhere.
But our manager has to learn quick on the job – the man is a legend, but this is Rangers and he will struggle if he keeps playing Windass as a right winger, Candeias as a 10 and Morelos at all.
Hopefully over the coming weeks and months these little kinks will get ironed out and your chums at Ibrox Noise stop whining.