There were many remarkable facts to note about yesterday’s solid win over Livi, but the most astounding wasn’t the performance or the result, it was the players left out.
Steven Gerrard elected (or was forced) to omit at least 10 alpha first-team stars, and despite this absence of his best talent, the XI selected was still a colossal distance ahead of its fairly decent guests.
Allan McGregor, Nathan Patterson, Filip Helander, Niko Katic, Borna Barisic, John Lundstram, Ryan Jack, Scott Arfield, Kemar Roofe, and Alfredo Morelos were all either absent or benched, and yet despite this near-full XI of absolutely outstanding players, Rangers were on easy street with the team picked.
This squad strength is truly remarkable, and that Rangers’ ‘second string’ XI is this far ahead of a top 6 SPL team gives some indication of the ludicrous level of progress Steven Gerrard has made in the past year or two.
There were even the absences of the likes of Jordan Jones, Brandon Barker, Cedric Itten and the increasingly retired Jermain Defoe as well, and this squad depth just looks more and more lavish the more we analyse it.
Of course, the glut of these players were being preserved for the trip to Sweden – that’s pretty much what Stevie is preparing for and the Livi ‘fringe’ XI was selected for that purpose.
But the fact we can do that and not weaken ourselves at all is truly remarkable.
What a squad our manager has built – and he hasn’t even finished.