Readers of Ibrox Noise who have been with us for years may recall an entry or two back in the day, in which we defined what we believed would be the return of the Rangers we expected.
To clarify, this site started in November 2011, when Rangers were post-Naismith injury and sliding into a pit of oblivion, but only a month earlier had been riding high top of the table with a Rangers under Ally McCoist which looked every inch as convincing as anything under Walter Smith.
So we were certainly fresh off the level of expectation we had for what a true Rangers was.
And back then, in those subsequent years, our definition of the real level of Rangers was simply thus:
The number of internationals in our ranks.
In the dreadful days of 2012-2017 we prized even the likes of Fraser Aird and Myles Beerman, tsunamis below the quality of a Rangers player, purely because one was a Canada international and the other a Maltese one. I mean, we’re talking solitary caps here, or call ups to training camps, but it was what we had and we cherished it.
However, things have really, REALLY changed.
This is a Rangers side now billowing with international-class players, whether current or ex, and the recent international break has highlighted the sheer level of quality we can now boast, and the reality that we’re building a Rangers fit for the name now.
In goal, recent Scotland retiree Allan McGregor. By far the best Scottish goalie and a serious contender for one of the best in UK.
In defence, one-time Croatia cap Niko Katic, former regular U21 (too old now) and waiting for his chance with the senior team, and fringe Swedish international Filip Helander, who’s very much part of his country’s NT but not quite a regular starter.
Then we have Borna Barisic – a rising star, albeit late in his 20s, this outstanding player has the tools to be world class, if he isn’t there already. One of the best crossers in Scotland, perhaps Britain, he’s settled into Ibrox and plays regularly for the world cup runners up. In fact, he’s a certain starter.
Moving forward, midfield boasts Finland regular Glen Kamara, NI regular Steven Davis, Scotland (fringe?) international Ryan Jack, Nigeria regular Joe Aribo, and Canada captain Scott Arfield.
Last but not least in attack we boast Colombia international Alfredo Morelos, former England legend Jermain Defoe, and Jordan Jones of NI.
Ryan Kent, like James Tavernier (and Connor Goldson?) probably will never be viewed as good enough to feature for his country, even if he tears the SPL up. But then, would Trent Alexander-Arnold have expected to get this good?
The point is Rangers are now absolutely throbbing with international-class players, and that, for us, all these years, was the biggest barometer of measuring the level our club was at compared with pre-admin.
McGregor, Helander, Barisic, Davis, Kamara, Jack, Aribo, Arfield, Morelos, Defoe and Jones as either Rangers’ current regulars, fringe, or ex-internationals, including seven current and pretty close to guaranteed starters.
Something special is certainly happening at Ibrox these days, and it’s only going to keep getting better.