It’s the morning before, and as Rangers prepare for yet another do or die Old Firm clash, fans’ optimism going into a meeting with Celtic has rarely been lower than it is.
Whether it’s the players, the manager, or the tactics, or the lack of goals, Rangers have fallen desperately short this season, be it under Michael Beale or ex-manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst.
And we cannot see that changing tomorrow, with Ibrox Noise’s prediction thread only having a minority of fans feeling Hampden will see Rangers making the Scottish Cup Final.
Blame? Does it actually matter who is at fault, or what is, the fact of the matter is Rangers’ goal difference in the Scottish Premiership tells you everything you need to know as to why we’re miles off them.
Our defence leaks many more goals (34 to 25), while our attack scores way less (81 to 103).
The goal difference is an absolutely disgraceful 31 that Celtic are ahead, and this is harking back to the dark Alex McLeish and Paul Le Guen days, among the worst times.
Eck might have secured Helicopter Sunday AND become the first Scottish team make the last 16 of the Champions League, but as his era petered off Chris Burke became our best player. That’s how bad it ended up.
And Paul Le Guen was desperate. Enough said.
Today while we’re not 20+ points behind, we might as well be, and the goal difference is the reason we are 13 points behind. Not enough goals under Gio, 37 scored and 16 conceded by the time Beale took over. There’s been no improvement and fractional degradation. We’ve only scored 44 in his 17 matches in the SPL. We’d conceded 16 under Gio and under Beale it’s been 20. Goal difference? It was 17 at that time, now obviously it’s 31.
Long story short, Beale has actually had little impact on league results. Gio only lost two league matches, drawing three, Beale has lost 2 and drawn one. We’ve ‘gained’ 4 points. That’s the shape of the improvement under this manager.
So that big ‘burst’ we all saw under this manager? It’s a basically figment of our imagination. We’re in the same boat now we were under Gio – it’s just doing some stuff slightly differently and only a fraction better off. It’s slim margins.
And those margins are nowhere near enough to close in on Celtic, including tomorrow.
No wonder the fans have so little optimism.