It takes a lot to impress us these days. Modern times see people dismissing what 50 years ago was incredible. Indeed, even only a decade. It is taking more, and more, and more to actually make us sit up and take notice, such are the rising standards of everything in modern life.
However, yesterday’s team display by Rangers against Hearts was quite simply a magical first 45 minutes of the most pulsating football we can remember in the SPL, period.
Levein’s men played their part – they forced McGregor into a couple of critical early blocks, massive saves that quite possibly changed the flow of the early blood and thunder nature of the match, and as play raged on, and Rangers took control, a quite incredible feast of football was materialising under the Govan sky.
We can rarely remember a more incredible team display than the one for the first 45 – yes, the intensity dropped in the second half, and while there was still some awesome play from the hosts, it didn’t quite match the first.
Which quite simply was the kind of thunderous performance we expect from what, as my colleague Kirsty hopefully describes correctly, is an increasing Fortress.
This was breathless and intense, it was fast and furious, but it was purposeful and tactical, and Gerrard had absolutely done his homework on Craig Levein and while the visitors had a bit of intent early on, Rangers absolutely blew them away with sheer gusto.
This was a statement, a match in which Rangers took on Scotland’s (now) formerly top team and destroyed them. Not with ease, you understand, but with sleeves rolled up and a hell of a roar from players and fans alike. And every man out there in blue worked tirelessly to make sure Fortress Ibrox was becoming more and more of one.
This, indeed, was simply a display to make us proud. We have the away record to work on, we know this, but if the past two 90 minutes at Ibrox are anything to go by, Steven Gerrard has gone a long way towards fixing a lot of the damage of the past six years, and made Rangers a prospect no one relishes coming to face on our own patch.
The home record, last season a source of such pain and embarrassment, is starting to look truly ominous for our opponents. Rangers have only been held at Ibrox once this season, and by a fine Croatian side whose goal was a lucky deflection. Otherwise it’s been straight wins all round.
If Gerrard can resolve the traveling ails, he has managed something quite special at Rangers.
Something as special as that first 45 yesterday.