John Lundstram, who knows a bit about Rangers these days, called Giovanni van Bronckhorst a genius, a tactical genius to be precise, and we want to look at whether we agree.
The scouser, a sensation in this second half of the season, has seen his game explode to new levels as a result of the Dutch Master’s coaching, and he seems well-placed to argue such a case.
Is Gio a ‘genius’, the ‘best manager Rangers have ever had’ you name it?
The ‘best’ manager is subjective, and we’re not going to entertain that one – he’s not won anything yet so he can’t logically be included among Walter, William (either of them), or any of the other luminaries of our past.
But he has done something none of them could do – take a very modest Rangers and turn it into a genuine world-beating team that’s doing so on merit.
Doing it without money, without it being his own team, and spinning it into Europa League finalists.
That was sleight of hand of the tallest order.
Does that make him a genius?
Tactically, we’d say that John was bang on the money – it’s hard to argue otherwise that a manager who has taken a squad worth a maximum of around £100M-£150M (albeit it barely cost 10% of that) and which has been missing half its star players for a lot of this season, all the way to the final of the second-biggest club prize in football, isn’t a genius.
We’ve seen how he’s brilliantly adapted, how he’s used different players for different purposes, how he’s manipulated matches and brought them back after tactically changing things.
This is something we’ve not seen other Rangers managers do, in fact, refuse to do.
Walter and Gerrard, often compared (inaccurately it has to be said) with each other both lacked that tactical fluidity – they knew one way to play and that was it.
Which is far from undermining either, it just is what it is.
But Gio has turned Borna into a defender after he previously only zipped crosses in, he’s got the best out of Calvin Bassey after deploying him in both LB and CB as and when needed, and he’s even got what he needs out of Scott Wright, who might not be blessed with ability but he’s a nuisance who does a job.
And no one is going to dismiss the brilliance of his use of John Lundstram, who has been a revelation as a DM, a CM, and a centre-half.
We’d have to agree. Because there’s little convincing argument that he isn’t.