Despite refereeing of an inconsistent level, and an injury to James Tavernier, at half time there’s no doubt Rangers’ toiling domestic form had bled over to the Europa League.
This was the tired, running on fumes Rangers we’ve been seeing in 2021, the lethargic one with a lack of penetration, and most supporters firmly expected to lose this one.
Not that Antwerp were great, they were far from it. They were hatchet men, who knew Rangers play on the ground so they tried to take us out on terra firma, and as Ibrox Noise’s Derek explained, they play with such a risky and strange formation that opportunities were there to exploit.
The problem was not even Scott Arfield’s presence could lift Rangers to a level we recognise from pre-New Year and we went in at half time 2-1 down, licking our wounds.
Then that second half, the European Rangers made an appearance, and what an absolutely gutsy, stunning, brave, colossal and hardy shift every man put in after the break.
This was the Steven Gerrard European team we’ve all come to expect – it was AWOL in that first 45, but whatever the manager did at half time, it was bang on, and the subs were bang on too.
In short, the Rangers from late 2020 that played amazing football and ran through bricks for its manager and fans was back, and it refused to cave, give in, or die at the hands of Antwerp, no matter how desperate they were to smash us.
We lost some players, and we lost three goals, but we scored four huge away goals and that gives us all the advantage going back to Glasgow.
And the guts our men showed was exactly what we’ve needed for the best part of two months.
That was Rangers last night, at last, the one Stevie made, not the running on empty thing they’ve been in the past 6 weeks or so.
Play half as well as that, with that level of heart, for the rest of the season, and there are no limits to what this team can achieve.