Tonight’s simple win over a plucky but ultimately weak Cove Rangers demonstrated one crucial thing above all else – this is the kind of fixture Rangers struggled in even last season.
The gulf in class out there was frightening, as the home side professionally dispatched the visitors with nary a breath, and completely blew away Ibrox Noise’s concerns about the potential of a leading League One side in form.
No, this was a complete ransack, and despite the lack of goals to reflect the play, this is the major stride under Steven Gerrard this season – it’s not the fact Rangers are through to face Celtic (more on that later) or the polished nature of the display or even the plethora of possession and shots.
No, it’s the literal fact that even last season Rangers were struggling to put away sides of this nature.
We only have to go back to August 2019 and our struggles in Fife to put away East Fife – sure, it was 0-3, but the display, as we all recall, was horrific, and exposed that Steven Gerrard’s side had a long way to go to get anywhere near where we needed to be.
Well, April two years later and a side of similar calibre and in far far better form came to Ibrox and was torn apart with room to spare by a side that was far from Steven Gerrard’s best XI.
Indeed, a good five or six first-team starters weren’t in the side today, and yet the ones who came in clinically and easily put Cove to the sword.
It wasn’t strictly impressive, it was ruthless – seeing how far Stevie has come with his men that a side like this that could have been a nuisance just weren’t.
Rangers’ only real complaint was being completely wasteful in front of goal. 27 goals, 12 on target only secured 4 goals. And that profligacy was a bit disappointing, but the performance wasn’t.
This was a training match for Rangers, and they played well within themselves even then.
By comparison, Celtic put everything into their clash with Falkirk (who lead Cove by 4 points) and in 42 shots, could only hit 3 goals with 80% possession.
Both sides were ultimately comfortable, but Rangers’ stroll compared with recent seasons against sides of this nature shows Steven Gerrard’s Champions are truly the part now. The finished article – just requiring continued maintenance.