Following another extremely comfortable win last night, with GVB’s merry bandwagon in full swing, we take the opportunity to compare ourselves with…well ourselves, but more specifically, embryonic Gio Rangers and latter SG Rangers. The conclusions are quite remarkable.
Let’s take Gio’s first 7 opponents – Sparta Prague, Livingston, Hibs, Dundee, Lyon, Hearts and St Johnstone and compare these games against the last time we played them under Gerrard.
Starting chronologically with Sparta Prague, having suffered a disappointing 1-0 defeat on Matchday 2, to avenge this in the way that we did against them at home in Gio’s first game was a sign from the get go that things were on the up at Ibrox. Gio 1 Gerrard 0.
Next up, a tricky away tie against Livingston. Never an easy place to go and despite conceding an equaliser after another fast start, we run out comfortable 3-1 winners. It has to be said, that it was a similar story in the season opener, 3-0 the scoreline with similar possession stats and coincidentally the same amount of shots on and off target for the light blues – 8 and 6 respectively. Let’s call that round a draw by virtue of the goal conceded vs home advantage. Gio 1.5 Gerrard 0.5.
Just 3 days later, only his 6th game in charge, Gio would take his men to Easter Road where a late Kemar Roofe penalty ensured a hard fought but just about deserved victory. Crucially though, it showed the difference in the squad from that horror showing at Hampden just 10 days earlier. As Gerrard was already dearly departed by then, we have the 2-1 win at Ibrox to compare this one to.
A win which, let’s be honest was largely helped by Porteous’ sending off and with the benefit of hindsight – seeing Gerrard celebrate in the manner which he did (as if we’d just won the Champions League) was pretty embarrassing and one could fairly confidently assume that this was a sign of relief rather than elation. Few could argue that we saw better, more professional looking Rangers in the capital and by beating 11-men in green, Gio takes it again. Gio 2.5 Gerrard 0.5.
Next up, Dundee and this one is a no brainer. That dominant, never in doubt 3-0 win at Ibrox eclipses the 1-0 scrape by of earlier in the season, where lest we forget Dundee actually missed a penalty which may have been enough to deny us 2 points that day. Gio 3.5 Gerrard 0.5.
From there, we saw out our last Europa League group fixture with safe passage to the knockout stages already secured. Would this be cause for complacency? Not one bit. Arguably one of our best performances under Gio, we were probably unlucky not to win the game. Still a 1-1 away from home to deny the French giants the 100% record they desperately wanted seemed a million miles away back on matchday 1, as we went down 2-0 at Ibrox. You guessed it – Gio 4.5 Gerrard 0.5.
Back to league business and back to the capital. This time to face Hearts, a team who usually seem to cause us problems of late and who hadn’t been beaten at Tynecastle all season. If our performance in France was one of the best under GVB so far, this one has to be right up there with it. True, both teams had more than their share of chances, but the effort, desire and application from each player right throughout the team was there for all to see. Scoring TWO goals in the space of 5 minutes meant that there was no danger of a late equaliser this time and the sour taste of 1-1 at home earlier in the season has now been replaced by GVB and his magic orange juice. Gio 5.5 Gerrard 0.5.
Finally, we entertained St Johnstone at home and though not a thriller by any stretch of the imagination, we were good value for our 2-0 win and 3 points never looked in any sort of doubt despite a stubborn St Johnstone rear-guard. Compare that with the 2-1 win we got at McDairmid earlier in the season, showing character and coming from behind it has to be said, this one is similar to the Livvie comparison and we have to put it down as much of a muchness – comfortable 2 goal win at home vs shaky comeback 2-1 win away. Full time score – Gio 6 Gerrard 1.
So there you have it, hardly ground breaking, but further confirmation of the corner we seem to have turned under Van Bronkhorst. One final observation – he’s only had one natural central defender in the team as well, with Calvin Bassey coming in and doing an unbelievable job for the new manager. Imagine what we could be like with the return of the likes of Roofe, Helander and Jack. Not to mention potentially a few top new European recruits.
The future’s bright, the future’s orange (red, white and blue).