Ok, slightly ‘no kidding’ title to this one, but it’s certainly true with respects to formation. As we know, The Grand Master Walter often used to go with five or even six defenders v Celtic – play one up top, especially away.
Steven Gerrard, who’s winning our hearts and manlove in a way we truly didn’t expect, is echoing so much of Walter’s steely winning mentality and general management style, and after the slight let down at Fir Park of an unsuited 3-5-2, things were back to shape on Thursday with the 4-3-3, or 0-0-0 as the ref seemed to want it to be by the end.
So, does Stevie stick with that working system, one which has done so much damage so far, or does he take a leaf out of Walter’s book and select a glut of defenders?
If we think back to the classic 0-1 at Parkhead in 2007 (RIP Ugo) Walter selected a conventional four-man defence, but topped it up with four defensive midfielders in Adam, Ferguson, Hemdani and Thomson. It was practically an 8-2 (Sebo and Novo) at times.
There is little doubt Rangers have the players for this – Jack, McCrorie, Arfield and a slim chance of Coulibaly being fit. But after the players looked uncomfortable with a formation switch at Motherwell in what we could argue was a test run for Sunday, is it worth the risk?
With the signing of Joe Worrall, there is now proper scope for a back three, but with only one day to practise it and integrate the on-loan Nottingham man, is it equally too early to try that?
Steven Gerrard knows whatever happens tomorrow, we’re behind him. He’s exceeded anyone’s expectations and then some on top of that – we know this season will have lows and the honeymoon period won’t last forever, but we can see, for the first time since Walter retired, the groundwork being laid for something meaningful that we can overlook the dips and know the end goal remains a valid target.
But that all said, a win tomorrow at the midden would send out as big a message as Walter’s did in 2007. Celtic have just sold their best player, while he and another one threw their toys out their prams and demanded moves away. They have already lost in the league, and got dumped out the Champions League. Rodgers has made noises about leaving himself, and all is not smooth at the Meccanodome these days.
Rangers might still not win there, it will be tough no matter what.
But get that win?
Rangers are back. Truly.