Rangers fans, understandably, are frustrated and enraged by how this season is going. Despite Ibrox Noise’s Kevin pointing out the stunning stat which shows we’re pretty much equal to Celtic defensively, at the other end it’s a different story, regardless of Antonio Colak’s form.
But there’s something else, another aspect of Rangers this season which makes our current state not just poor, but also unprecedented and hard to even qualify.
Something happened earlier this year which changed the whole picture, something which doesn’t usually happen, and it means measuring and judging Rangers this season has become weirder and a lot less fair or believable.
We are of course on about Sevilla.
Not since 2008 had Rangers been to a European final, and 14 years on we were there again. This meant that measuring and judging the team afterwards was based on completely different levels to normal.
Normally we got to last 16, lost, and got on with preparing for next season with the usual £12M budget for then-manager Steven Gerrard, measuring the season based on progress last campaign on all fronts.
But this year?
How do we fairly assess the team given it went to completely uncharted territory in May? Our first ‘modern era’ European final, our first Europa League final. Not only that, but the difference between winning and losing was a Goldson swipe, a Bassey misread, a Kent miss and the swing of Ramsey’s boot.
Some argue every ounce of fight and grit went from our team as soon as he missed, and it’s hard to argue with that point, because punching well above our weight, going for history, and falling at the cruellest final hurdle possible would absolutely wreck a team.
Had we won, Bassey would have stayed, ditto Aribo, and we’d have been way better set.
As it was, we lost, and it all changed. But even regardless of winning or losing, how do you fairly measure a team and its performance when the previous season it made unprecedented history?
The reality is you can’t, and our difficult season this campaign is a clear hangover of expectation.
We are measuring EVERYTHING based on getting to Seville, we’re judging everything based on that achievement, and while it’s not been a great season, it’s worth remembering Ally’s Rangers were 15 points ahead at this point in 2011 – Celtic being even further behind than we currently are.
Yes, different world, we know, but where we are right now is better than where Celtic were 11 years ago before our universe fell apart.
It is true that Gio probably won’t survive much longer, but the reality is he’s being unfairly measured by everyone based on overachieving last season.
Football is a funny old game.