Wednesday, 26 September 2018

The staggering reality of Ayr coming to Ibrox

Saturday 7th December 2013 isn’t a date which jumps out at anyone of a Blue persuasion, but come tonight’s fixture in the Betfred League Cup v Ayr, it takes on sudden and drastic significance.

That day five years ago was the last time Rangers faced the same side at Ibrox, and to talk about a journey in between doesn’t do the path from those dark days to present anything like enough justice.

Let’s look at the XI men who lined up half a decade ago in the corresponding fixture:

Bell, Faure, Wallace, Black, McCulloch, Mohsni, Peralta, MacLeod, Clark, Daly, Aird

Back in those days many fans would try to defence this mince as good enough for the shirt, and it even brings into perspective more recent arguments from some quarters that any of the squads we’ve had the past two years have ‘been the worst Rangers squad ever’.

Because when we look five years ago at the horrific XI who took the field that day and compare it to what we have now, it almost scares us.

Bell over McGregor. McCulloch rather than Katic. Daly over Morelos. Peralta over Coulibaly.

Of course, they were different times, and Rangers were in a completely polar opposite place to where we are now – it must be remembered The Journey is not over yet, but we are progressing better now under Stevie than we have since 2012, but nevertheless looking back on that fateful day that a new generation of fans won’t understand, we can only cherish what we have now, be grateful it’s Alfredo and not Aird and savour where we’ve got to.

We will add an addendum – Wallace did do us a turn, and we still back him and his relevance to Rangers – he sacrificed so much and took us through much of that journey, so the fate that transpired him really grinds at us. Also special mention to Lewis Macleod – glad we sold him such has been the injury disaster of his whole career (hey, we got Rossiter anyway, so like for like) but he was a class above the rest of the team and the one player who might have played a significant role in present-day Rangers. If he’d been fit.

That all said, we might argue over Tav, whine about things Wes says, or be divided over Andy Halliday’s merits.

But compared with where we were, this is night and day.

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