Friday, 10 August 2018

"It's beginning to feel a lot like Rangers"

We have to admit to being really impressed so far at Ibrox Noise Towers over the entire start made by Steven Gerrard.

We’re no hypocrites; the Shkupi performances were not great and we were heavily critical of Gerrard – we got a lot of pelters for calling it as we saw it. We can take that, we’re grown ups.

But while we’ve still got a few small concerns about Stevie (hell, we had them about the Master Uncle Walter so feel free to ignore us) we have to admit the way he is conducting himself, the way he is talking and the steely determination with which he carries himself is really beginning to get under our skin in admiration of how ‘Rangers’ he and his regime are starting, just starting to feel.

There is a slow, considered, methodical and articulate way the man is speaking to the press, and that delivery is very, very Walter esque. That wily but sharp and headstrong mentality that takes no prisoners but shows class too – while Jock Wallace essentially terrified his players, he also showed the gentle touch and the class required to be a Rangers legend on top of it. This kind of powerful will and borderline intimidating aura seems to be fitting Gerrard like a glove and the more we see him the more he feels like the right kind of man to be our manager.

He hasn’t been imperious. We weren’t keen on him using the word ‘burden’ to describe playing for and managing (working for) for Rangers. It is never a burden – it is a privilege afforded to very few, and he is one such, and he is clearly embracing the job and making a hell of a start in it, but we can’t deny opposition to that particular adjective.

But the team is clearly developing in his image and that of Rangers – the performance in Croatia, then Wigan, then Aberdeen, and then last night – a good spine, a reliable spine and a Rangers team who appeared to understand how to game manage. The old Rangers sides used a combination of game management and individual flair. We don’t have the individual flair right now, but from the performances we’ve seen of late, Gerrard’s own experience is filtering onto the players who are growing by match into what we expect our Rangers players and teams to be.

Even the European displays have shown a canny management that we actually didn’t have at that stage in 9IAR. While 92/93 v Leeds was legendary, the following seasons saw UCL qualifying embarrassments a-plenty – older Bears will remember AEK Athens, Grasshoppers and a tonne of other supposedly weaker teams getting the better of Walter’s sides in European qualifiers.

Gerrard’s Rangers has gone up against some of Croatia and Slovenia’s finest and genuinely looked the better side. By no means are we saying he’s a better manager, God no. He may turn out to be something special but we’re not making such flippant judgements.

What we are saying is he seems to be cultivating something in these matches that we struggled to deliver back in the day, and that, following the Process Unicorn disaster last season is one hell of an improvement.

We said before we won’t know a corner has been turned till we go six months of this, but for now, it’s a ride we’re enjoying.

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