As we alluded to earlier, on top of the five subplots we mentioned, there’s one other notable reason why this weekend’s fixture with Robbie Neilson’s Dundee United matters so much.
13th January, 2007.
Walter Smith had just come home to a beleaguered Rangers still reeling from the appalling Paul le Guen rein. He’d given up Scotland to come back to Ibrox, and his first match back was against Utd, in a high-pressure match.
He hadn’t made a single signing yet, and was using PLG’s rotten squad.
PLG’s Rangers, now Smith’s Rangers, ran out easy easy winners with a resounding home triumph of 5-0.
This was after a short winter break of 11 days between the 2nd and 13th so not unlike present day’s two-week international break.
Now, older Bears will attest the performance from Walter’s first match in charge was not outstanding, and indeed the visitors had a tonne of chances to score, but the final result was pure Walter – winning no matter how poorly you played.
Now, present day. We’ve had another two-week break, and high-flying off the back of the start to the season Rangers have momentum.
Obviously we didn’t have that in 2007 – and while the world has changed a scary amount in those 13 years, what’s not changed is our need to win.
And Stevie, just like Walter all those years ago, faces Dundee United in a return to action, in a fixture which not only has those tonnes of subplots we mentioned, but which is a critical win, again, just Walter’s back in 2007.
It’s must win, but of course they all are.
Gerrard goes into it with his side pretty rampant – Walter inherited PLG’s mess and turned it into Scotland’s best team overnight. We’re not demanding Gerrard does that by Saturday, but we won’t lie, it would be nice!
Anyway, bring on the weekend, and hopefully a continuation of what went before.