Sunday, 30 December 2018

Are Rangers ready to win the SPL?



It’s the afternoon after the afternoon before, and we’re all still blissfully floating on a sea of Blue after Rangers’ amazing win over Celtic, a result which shook Scottish football to its core.

But how do we try to balance an assessment of where this team and manager now are?

Let’s start here by being grounded – “Dangerous December” is now over and we can’t say the overall performance was spectacular.

Draws with Hibs twice, a hideous draw at Dundee and losses to Aberdeen and Rapid saw, until yesterday, a very mixed bag with only three wins of all eight fixtures.

It wasn’t great by any stretch, and we must remember that before we leap to any conclusions after yesterday’s win.

It’s more than forgivable that we all got excited and carried away after what was, admittedly, our best performance under Steven Gerrard and probably our best performance since 2012’s win over the same team – in truth it was a far superior display to that one, which in itself was an outstanding 3-2 win.

And that’s where we have to balance caution and optimism.

This win was seismic – this win showed how good this Rangers can be when the tactics are right, the players show up and everyone pulls together. However, doing that week-in-week-out is how champions-elect are borne and for Rangers to now build on this requires a strong January as well when it all resumes in three weeks.

Celtic have been masters of keeping the consistency going, but the chinks in their armour have been vast this season, and this time they were unable to raise their game at Ibrox – in truth, Rangers’ own tactics and incredible hard work were a major reason why. Rangers stopped Celtic as much as Celtic didn’t deliver.

However, for us to be convinced our Rangers are capable of winning the league requires more than one win – we have shown we are capable now – but to be realistic we must remember we’ve not yet beaten Aberdeen or Hibs at all this season, and the top of the table is so tight that no one should count any chickens.

The season is a marathon, and with January additions Rangers can certainly lead the pack for it – but as superb as that win yesterday was, let’s not get too carried away with pretentions on the title.

It’s possible. More possible than it’s been since we last won the thing.

But for Rangers to take the next step requires more than just beating our rivals. It means beating everyone, more often than not.

It can be done, and if the spirit of that Old Firm win can be cultivated more often than not, it will.

Because no one wants 10IAR.


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