They say you learn more in defeat than you do in victory; well, we’d have to argue at Ibrox Noise Towers that last night threw a spanner in this cliché and we learned a ferocious amount thanks to a draw.
A lot of things became apparent in Spain, and we’ll try to cover a few of them in due course, but one completely unexpected truth exploded on the turf at El-Madrigal on 85 minutes as a player we’d all borderline forgotten about and given up on made his long-awaited return to first-team action after the ill-fated spell in the team in the Spring.
And anyone who ever doubted Graham Dorrans’ quality only needed to watch his 10-minute impact on this match to see this guy is genuine top drawer.
That touch, control, and finesse was clear to see, and when he made ‘that’ run for Scott Arfield’s near winner, it’s safe to say we saw a level of skill, dribbling, maturity, vision and quality that is capable of lifting this Rangers side to a new level.
If there is one thing this Rangers midfield lacks, it’s a playmaker – a creative influence who can make things happen individually – great Rangers teams of the past had this in abundance, but we’ve been bereft of such a thing recently.
And if Graham Dorrans can deliver that level of performance against a side of the standard of Villarreal, and stay fit and consistent, Rangers have an unexpected star in their midst who may eventually look a bargain at £1.5M.
We’ve seen Dorrans’ talent before – it was epically abundant in Perth v St Johnstone last October when he effortlessly pulled the strings from midfield. But that kind of display has been the tragic minority in his career at Ibrox so far.
Last night may just have been the rebirth of Graham Dorrans, and if he plays even half as good as that on a regular basis for Steven Gerrard, Rangers effectively have not only a brand new signing on their hands, but a player who can make this team truly tick.
Dorrans is a player most of us gave up on – but his little teaser last night shows there’s not only life in the old dog yet, but a tonne of it and life which can give Rangers the central fulcrum that is arguably missing from Gerrard’s side.
We’ve got the defenders now, we’ve got a tonne of midfielders, a little light up front, but crucially we’ve lacked a midfield ‘Scott Allan’ or ‘Barry Ferguson’ type for as long as we remember.
If Dorrans continues his recovery and continues this level of form, Rangers might finally have something very special on their hands.