It honestly broke our heart for a second match in a row to see the remarkable talent that is Billy Gilmour awarded Man of the Match for mighty Chelsea.
First against the goliaths of Liverpool in the cup, then against the very respectable Everton in the league sitting in a solid 12th place.
That an 18-year old ‘kid’ was the best player on the pitch in matches featuring some of the world’s best players gives absolutely the ‘best’ indication of just what a player this lad is.
He is, absolutely, unequivocally, the best player to come out of Scotland since the days of Dalglish and Law, and that he’s outclassed players with the reputations of the finest of Anfield and Stamford Bridge not to mention Goodison Park is a dangerous indictment.
Not of the standard of the PL, but of the youth policy at Ibrox.
Make no mistake, young Gilmour, a prodigy and a truly extraordinary player, is not only one of us, but would still be at Ibrox if he’d believed he had any kind of chance of making it at the top level.
Not because he wasn’t good enough, of course, but simply because Rangers’ reputation when it comes to youth is diabolical.
We are no fans of Celtic, but thanks to their superior policy, they’ve reared talent like Kieran Tierney, James Forrest and quite a few others, in some cases selling on for megamillions.
But Rangers? We had a chance to build a youth team from scratch in 2012. We signed Kevin Kyle instead.
And Barry Ferguson only broke through in the first place because Dick Advocaat had the eye for his quality – Walter Smith wasn’t interested.
There’s no denying the filthy lucre and his family’s influence not to mention the lure of the PL had big roles to play in Gilmour’s departure, but if that lad and his family had truly believed he’d be given a fair crack of the Ibrox whip and not be farmed out to Alloa or Arbroath on loan, he’d still be in Govan and fast on his way to becoming a Rangers legend.
Special players are obvious. Rangers knew this was one. Chelsea knew it too.
But Gilmour wanted to play proper football, not to ‘prove himself’ at Elgin or Cove Rangers.
Chelsea swore blind to him he was their future, that they were desperate for him, and now we see this potentially world class talent shining on the biggest stage of all in front of a worldwide audience of billions.
He has it all, but had Rangers been willing to give youth more of a fair chance, he’d have wanted for nothing at Ibrox.
And before we go, many will give the argument that it’s us fans’ fault, that we pressure players and give abuse if a kid makes a mistake.
Guys, that’s part of football – there’s gigantic pressure at Chelsea too, they’re recent champions, have a billionaire owner and won the UCL not super long ago. Don’t tell us he left to escape the pressure of making a mistake at Ibrox for the relaxing alternative of Stamford Bridge.
Look how well Nathan Patterson and Kai Kennedy have done this calendar year in their fleeting appearances, but get immediately dumped right back to the youths or at best the bench.
Leon King has signed a new deal, and we deeply, deeply hope the club have real intentions of playing him, of rectifying the mistakes made the past decade+ which led to Gilmour leaving.
No, Gilmour chose to prove himself on a stage which would let him – which would actually play him.
And we don’t really have anyone to blame but ourselves for him doing that.
Let’s hope with King’s new deal, it’s finally a sign we’re going to trust in our youngsters.