A strange stat emerged last weekend as a result of Jermain Defoe’s 15th minute opener at Tynecastle, and really did make us at Ibrox Noise wonder about what might have been this season, and the general sense that there’s been a bit of a missed opportunity.
Defoe’s brilliant and clinical strike elevated Rangers to the top of the table for goals scored inside 15 minutes – no one in the SPL has scored as many as Rangers within the opening quarter of an hour of matches than Steven Gerrard’s men, with Defoe’s finish taking Rangers’ total from 14 during that period to 15, exceeding all other sides in the SPL.
Rangers, for all our faults this season, and there have been a few, have been the fastest out of the blocks overall in the league, and the stats prove it.
The part we’ve fallen down in is sustaining that level of early intensity over the course of the whole 90 minutes, not just the start.
When we think back to all the early goals, had Rangers gone onto win with the same level of consistency as we scored, the league table could look very different indeed.
Because Celtic, frankly, have been diabolical this term – there was a chance there for a more consistent Rangers to mount more of a threat – look at where we were after Tynecastle earlier this season. A win that day took us top of the table for the first time since 2011, but it was the only time we remained in that position.
And yet the potential for more was there this season. A Celtic there for the taking presented itself, and it’s more so now with losing the only half-decent manager they’ve had in long enough, but our own inconsistencies, rotation, and mistakes plus lack of clinical edge put paid to a more credible fist of it at Celtic.
But we can spin it more positively – there is potential with that stat, and it shows this Rangers team is fastest out the blocks – the question is maintaining that level for the majority of the 90, not just the first 15 minutes – do that, and Steven Gerrard and his Rangers could well be a bigger threat in the league next year.
We await with interest.