Looking at the CL competition this season is thoroughly eye opening material, for judging where Rangers are, where they should be, and what ‘might have been’.
Of course, regulars will know we don’t dabble in ‘what ifs’ and torture ourselves, but analysis of ‘what is’ is certainly telling when we look at the sides in the CL and where Rangers are.
Last night, for example, a team Rangers beat and drew with, Porto, fairly comfortably dispatched the returning AC Milan and currently sit in strong contention for progression.
Porto, of course, the season after we gave them a bit of a lesson, progressed to the CL and got to the quarters, having put away another Italian giant Juve.
Then we have Young Boys. We didn’t beat them but we matched them on the pitch in many ways, and while they sit bottom of their group, they do have a win there.
Then there’s Benfica. A side we really did outdo, but who sucker punched us in both draws. They are in solid second in a group featuring Bayern and Barca.
And last but not least the most telling. Malmo. We’ve avoided too much discussion on this but a side who clinically put us away in the third qualifying round have been ritually destroyed at this level and can’t buy a win, or a point.
What does this tell us?
The sides at this level that we matched or outright beat in recent years have progressed to the CL and done themselves proud – they’ve certainly not been slaughtered.
The one that put us away easily, have themselves been crushed by all three sides they’ve faced so far, and clearly did not expect to go as far as they have.
It means while the fairy dust just wasn’t there this season, mostly caused by a lack of spending, Rangers DO have the potential to do themselves justice next season in the CL.
Sides we have matched in the past, ourselves off the back of decent transfer windows, have gone on to do good things in the UCL, but when we weren’t able to enhance, when we were too weak and stale at this level without quality signings, a moderate team was able to roll us over.
It’s simple maths – money and signings equal success.
Next summer could be a very productive one indeed for this club – £45M quid wouldn’t be bad, would it?