There’s been a lot of talk recently about Sheyi Ojo’s proclamation that Rangers are the best team in Scotland. Specifically, outrage over these comments and the presumption that goes with them.
Was Ojo right to say what he did? Or did he go too far and show arrogance?
Let’s look at what he said, when asked if impressed by any other side in the SPL:
“Not really, to be honest. I think Rangers are the best team in the league. It is just about us proving we are the best team and doing really well this season. It’s one of the reasons why I came here. I want to be part of a winning team and I think Rangers, this season, can do that. It’s just about us focusing on every game and in training. All the new players are focused on the new system the gaffer wants and taking it game by game. I think the most important thing, and the gaffer has told us this, is just to focus on ourselves. I think the difference last season was, I think, six to nine points. It proved we’re pretty close to Celtic. It’s just about concentrating on ourselves and then we’ll be able to make up those fine margins.”
In truth, the statement about thinking Rangers are the best team seems clumsy, because none of the rest appears to back it up. He even admits Rangers were slightly inferior to Celtic and this upcoming campaign is about closing that gap and proving on the pitch that we are a match for them.
But, of course, by simply uttering that comment, he has made a slight rod for his own back – only a fool would truly believe, right now, that Rangers are the best team in Scotland. What sensible observers would argue is that Steven Gerrard has significantly improved his side, and appears to be on the right path – even we made a strong case that our midfield is arguably the best in the country with only Celtic’s a fair match for it.
But we wouldn’t go further than that.
What we would say is the line we’ve trotted out time and time again – that regardless of which team actually is ‘better’, Rangers simply have to win the league this year to stop 9IAR. In a poll a month or two ago, our readers voted in their swathes that winning the league was essential, and more essential than usual.
If Rangers do manage it this season, and stop 9IAR, the fullest extent of Ojo’s comments will have been vindicated. But it really is just one small slightly silly sentence that he maybe could have worded better, which is the only thing in the above passage which really appears a little misguided.
Of course, the counter argument is that Celtic, under Neil Lennon, have been pretty shoddy at best. Unconvincing and seemingly taking steps backwards this summer – not least of all by choosing that particular manager. So there is certainly an opening for Rangers. For sure.
But it would be folly to say more than that at this point. They’ve won 8IAR – you don’t fluke it eight times in a row.
But hopefully this season Ojo’s assertion is proven true and we’re celebrating a sensational 55.