We haven’t really covered the Covid Crew’s charge yet, but the implications should the SFA elect to ban Nathan Patterson, Calvin Bassey, Brian Kinnear and Bongani Zungu are potentially significant indeed.
As we know, Jordan Jones and George Edmundson were given 7-match bans, bans which didn’t cost Rangers too much – they were also only domestic and didn’t affect European football, albeit neither player was involved anyway.
But with Ryan Jack struggling, and James Tavernier known to be unavailable for a while, the loss of Zungu, Bassey and Patterson, while league-wise kind of irrelevant, could potentially affect Rangers across European football and the Scottish Cup.
Jack’s return is cagey – he’s not been involved for a while and Stevie did say he hoped to have him back soon, potentially this week, in time for the Old Firm, but James Tavernier it seems will definitely miss that.
And should the SFA decide to make a ban, with the hearing to happen in 10 days, while all these players will definitely be available for Parkhead, it may affect Europe and indeed the cup in the weeks to come.
Europe? Why? Because if Patterson is banned for league duty for a while, ditto the others, he may lose a little match sharpness when it comes to Europe, if Rangers are to progress past Praha. We know Tavernier, if fit by then, will definitely be a bit rusty too.
Likewise Zungu – he is emergency cover at the moment for the midfield duo of Steven Davis and Glen Kamara, and if he is removed from league business, it means a fair bit of shuffling and less bench options.
Unfortunately, these players have no one to blame but themselves – and Patterson is just starting now to break through into the first team, so a major ban for him would be a killer.
There is a little ‘sympathy’ from some fans towards Patterson – despite what he did, he’s young, very young, and he earned a little slack with that goal. Bassey too has been slightly more gently received because of youth and perceived foolishness at that age.
There’s a lot less towards Zungu who’s nearly 30 and willingly put his club at risk, while failing to impress anyone with his performances either.
Wherever you stand, the SFA could make things difficult for the club at the end of this month.
Still, no change there huh?