Saturday, 23 March 2019

Since when was Rangers' lynchpin 'average'?

The reaction to our Ryan Jack article was as unexpected as it was bizarre. Readers will know we were disappointed at best to Alex McLeish’s rejection of Jack in favour of pretty much anyone else, and we watched in mild amusement as Eck’s dismal dark blues crumped in a pathetic heap against the might of Kazakhstan.

Now, we’re not saying Jack would have saved the day by any means, but if anyone thinks the lad is far inferior to the dross out there or on its bench then we truly have no idea where you’re coming from.

In fact, the fact so many Rangers fans seemed to justify Eck’s decision and downright downplay Jack’s abilities made us not just frustrated, but genuinely sad at the mentality of a great number of our supporters now.

In the olden days it was called ‘handwringing’ – appeasing your enemies. And defending SFA FC’s decision and further insulting ‘average’ Ryan Jack was behaviour we simply don’t reconcile with any self-respecting Bear.

Ok, we hold our hands up – he’s not quite Barry Ferguson. But on top of being an outstanding defensive midfielder, the past two months he’s added some impressive central midfield and attacking midfield play – in fact, he’s admitted this has been the best season of his career and, until our article questioning the logic of his omission, most fans were hugely in praise of his contribution this season.

Obviously he missed Killie through apparent injury and that may well have been the very simple reason he wasn’t called up. But then so did Scott Arfield and Canada gave him the shout.

But regardless, the number of fans keen to castigate Jack in the past two weeks as average or even worse makes us wonder what we can define ‘support’ to be.

Sure, we’ve certainly been critical of players ourselves, but fleetingly – rather than generally showing disdain over a player’s tangible quality, it’s been over attitude or consistency – we’ve certainly given Morelos, Barisic and others a few barrels over their levels of contributions and attitude within – but if anyone can quote us within the past year as saying these guys weren’t actually decent players in the first place, we’ll stand corrected.

Indeed, in the distant past, before Jack put some matches and form together, we considered him underwhelming and wasn’t the Ryan Jack we’d believed we’d signed. And back then he probably wasn’t. But he hadn’t met Steven Gerrard yet, and now admits, like Morelos, that his new manager has absolutely gotten the best out of him.

And yet, fans suddenly decide he’s single fish?

He’s up for player of the year, no one had a complaint about that nomination at all – but suddenly he’s not good enough for the worst Scotland in history while the underperforming Borna Barisic’s callup was greeted with applause?

You gotta love the fickle fan.

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