We’ve been hearing quite a few fans make this point about Malmo being 14 matches into their season therefore having a massive advantage over Rangers in terms of fitness.
Factually it’s true, they are deep into their season, and it’s worth looking further at it.
They’re not just 14 matches into their season, they were in fact 18 matches in, including the UCL qualifying first two rounds.
And that already reveals some pertinent facts – we were facing a side not only packed with individuals with a tonne of UCL experience, but one which was at the height of physical fitness being 14 games further down the line than us.
That said, we want to be absolutely clear – this ‘fitness’ issue was not once raised by fans before the first leg. In fact, nary a word was said about them being ahead of us physically. Indeed, the arrogance we perceived from quite a few in our fanbase, and indeed the Scottish media, ‘expecting’ a win was frankly insulting to them, and that lack of humility didn’t help.
Yes, for this ‘fitness’ aspect only raised its head after the first leg, almost like an excuse.
Because, let’s be blunt – did we want Malmo banned from the CL just because their season starts in April and ‘that’s not fair’?
Do we ban Rangers from the SPL in 2019 because we got 4 legs of UEL action first to get us ahead of the pack in fitness? It’s a non-issue and it cannot be used as any kind of reason.
Whatever their fitness was, their focus and work ethic was a mile better than ours. They beat us because they were better than us, and our graft and quality wasn’t at the level we need it to be.
And that’s inexcusable.