In Rangers’ final match before the world cup, we were held disappointingly by the conquerors of Celtic, St Mirren.
On their patch, we actually did better against the Buddies than Stavros’ team, but it was the end of the world to Rangers fans, and we wholeheartedly admit that we on Ibrox Noise struggled, at that point, to conjure a case to keep Gio as manager.
Time, and reflection has somewhat changed our mind, in a sense, and the one we keep looking at is injuries and form loss.
The final of the UEL saw McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Bassey, Barisic, Jack, Lundstram, Kamara, Kent, Aribo, Arfield and Wright our team, with Morelos, Hagi, Patterson and Roofe and Balogun major parts of the European run.
Against St Mirren, it was McGregor, Tavernier, King, Sands, Barisic, Lundstram, Kamara, Kent, Tillman, Wright and Morelos – a turnover of the entire central defence, some of the midfield, and the bulk of the attack.
The first match under Gio?
Aribo, Hagi, Bassey, Goldson, younger Davis and more in-form Kamara, Kent and Morelos.
The past one month has culminated in a complete change in the squad and team, with only out-of-form players and new signings remaining, having lost three arguably four big players out the door (Bassey, Aribo, Balogun and Katic).
So, where are we going with this disjointed ramble?
The squad Gio has had this season has been a skeleton in quality of the last – he’s lost three of his best players to exits, and a countless number to injury.
But Rangers fans, mostly, have been completely unforgiving, blaming Gio for the fact Ben Davies isn’t a tenth of the player Calvin Bassey is, and that Tillman hasn’t come close to replacing Aribo. He has also lacked any kind of support from most supporters who can see certain players aren’t up to it, like King and Davies, but still blame Gio for their bad performances despite his having no other options.
It’s curious, and we agree the buck always stops with the boss, but with tied hands, do fans expect Ben Davies to be as good as Bassey? King to match Goldson? Tillman to match Aribo?
Many do, many point to boring football and bad tactics – well, give Guardiola the same group of players and we guarantee it would be a slog as well. By the time this break came along we were literally down to 13 fit outfield players. And yet Gio gets the blame for the performances and results this causes.
We have plenty criticised the manager, because he HAS made errors and said some ‘stupid nonsense’ (to quote him) in pressers lately, but give the man a BIT of slack given he’s got that proverbial water pistol rather than the cannon he’s supposed to have. We will always hold Gio to account, but frankly, we feel a lot of Rangers fans are being very unfair to him and holding him responsible for factors outside of his control.
That’s their right, but we’re willing to give him more slack and wait till he has better tools to work with before we even think about judging him.
World football has rarely to never seen injury blight like this in the modern game, and somehow, the consequent results and performances from being forced to use Leon King are Gio’s fault?
That’s football for you.