Ryan Jack’s claim that Rangers will need to play as well v Hbs as we did v Hearts shows the absolute delusion still in this club at ground level, and how the problems go much deeper than just how good the players are.
We all remember that night, that tub-thumping 0-4 win, against, at the time, the country’s third-best team who were in sparkling form.
It gave Michael Beale’s fledgling tenure a huge boost and started to make his legitimacy feel real. And even after the awful loss at Hampden, he used that performance as a reason for his tactical approach v Celtic.
And Jack seems to be backing him up. And therein lies the problem.
Hearts used an experimental formation and tactic that night, something completely at odds with their usual system – it absolutely didn’t work and they scrapped it on 90 minutes. Robbie Neilson publicly admitted it had failed, so he was ditching it.
And yet our manager and players are STILL using that artificial evening and the away display to buoy our team up?
It’s incredibly misguided, short-sighted and plain stupid to use that result or performance as evidence of anything, simply because our opponent weren’t themselves.
We did play well, but Hearts’ errors and Neilson’s experimentation helped it no end, and to fall back on that win as evidence going forward (twice the club have done it now) really is concerning.
The sensible comment would be, yes, we did play well, but we can’t take that match too seriously given Hearts were trying something different that we were able to overcome.
No, instead our club sits on that win, acting like it was genuinely valid.
It’s like beating a team down to 8 men and acting like that win was as legitimate and comparable to any against 11 players and using those tactics or motivations going forward.
We do wonder just what psychology is inside Ibrox these days – the manager speaks manure 95% of the time, and now the players are doing the same.
We can’t exactly improve if we are using invalid nights like that as a yardstick.