There’s no denying Rangers’ epic point at Porto last night was a major moment this season. Having struggled at Hearts, pressure was on the team and the manager to produce a bit of a comeback, to bounce back from the disappointment of Sunday and hold their heads high this time come 90 minutes.
There’s similarly no denying this was achieved and then some, but without a shadow of a doubt the Dragao is the biggest arena away from home that Rangers have played on under Steven Gerrard, with the massive stage of the Europa League and a home side fancied to win the whole thing.
And yet, despite their opposition, Rangers were like men out there, and after a slow start produced the most important performance and result under this manager.
Three men colossally stood out, and those players’ values hiked dramatically in the case of two of them, and subtly in the case of the other.
Alfredo Morelos, Borna Barisic and Filip Helander had stunning matches, and their stock (continues to) rises on the kind of scale Ibrox Noise has been peddling for months.
Morelos was already valued around £20M – that is what Rangers expected for his services should his ambition happen and a PL side come in for him. But last night, again, Morelos proved he could do it on a big stage, this time the biggest of all, as he pretty much owned Porto and destroyed Pepe. Without a shadow of a doubt his value railroaded up to £30M on that performance alone. He only has two things left to do to absolutely cement all this – score against Celtic, and score for his country.
Borna, on the other hand, was also in the £20M zone – at least, the Barisic who was doing it for his country. We always saw what he was able to do for Croatia, and just prayed he would bring that to the blue shirt. He not only has now, but has escalated to doing it in tough matches – and to produce that level against Porto, at their home patch is only going to hike his worth even more. Some telling crosses, an assist, and sharp defending showed Borna Barisic, easily, would fetch the £25M zone Celtic got for Tierney.
Then there’s Helander – statistically he was the second-best defensive performer on match day three of the UEL, and his display last night was by far his best in the shirt. We’ve been impressed by him more and more, and the Swede is not only living up to the £3M pricetag, but making it look a bargain. He’s certainly a £5M+ defender, and that’s being frugal.
Rangers learned a lot about themselves last night, and almost all of it was good. Especially as three of the players alone are worth around £60M.