This triple-header has rather snuck up on us without much warning. In reality, the next 270 minutes define Rangers’ season.
After a rather underwhelming week of a difficult draw in Poland immediately followed by a fan ban from Uefa, the onus and importance now on bouncing back over the next three matches basically reflects Rangers’ upcoming season.
Today we visit St Mirren, against a side in relatively steady form with a win and a loss from their treacherously difficult opening matches v Hibs and Aberdeen, who sit midtable in 8th based on yesterday’s results, and who will be anything but a walkover.
This team got three points against Aberdeen, and despite Derek McInnes’ side’s horrible form, that’s still one hell of a result.
So it’s far from a foregone conclusion.
Next up it’s Legia on Thursday, a match tinged with the bitterness of both the Uefa ban and the unsatisfactory outcome of the first leg, and which has big pressure on it.
Then the triple-header ends with the colossal opening Old Firm match of the season on the 1st. Celtic teetering a tad, Rangers off the back of not the best week ourselves and with just one week to go, these seven days basically define Rangers’ campaign.
A win today and we’re off to a flier, any result which gets the side to the group stage on Thursday is outstanding, and then the Celtic clash at Ibrox being a home win would be the week from heaven Rangers fans seek.
But while the result and performance in Poland weren’t spectacular, it was the first time in weeks Steven Gerrard’s Rangers hasn’t seemed entirely smooth-oiled after such a rampant start to the season. A touch of vulnerability has just crept in thanks to that draw then the nonsense with Uefa – the best way to steady that ship is a soaring win today.
But it’s the next week of football which really matters. Find ourselves on deadline day with three wins out of three, or, at least, three good outcomes out of three, and Rangers have really proven themselves.
With hopes around Rangers right now higher than usual that even a respectable draw in Poland is a slightly disappointing result, expectation over this next week is huge.
This could be where 55 begins.