It doesn’t get any easier for Rangers tomorrow with what could be yet another very, very stiff test at the hand of German Bundesliga side Hoffenheim.
Unlike Hamburg, which was Rangers’ only half-decent performance this preseason, Hoffenheim are a firmly-established Bundesliga side, who avoided the drop after a more difficult season last term, but remain top flight.
As we said before Hamburg, those Germans being in the Bundesliga 2 were around our level, that was our fight this season relatively speaking, and it was a scrappy win with an unconvincing performance and vulnerable defence.
These upcoming Germans are significantly better than Hamburg, and manager Michael Beale will hope his training and work since midweek yields better results.
As Barry Ferguson said it this morning (more on that soon), the demands of being a Ger are sky high and even a friendly is the end of the world if it’s not a convincing win.
And Rangers are not reassuring in preseason at all.
And with that in tow, Hoffenheim offer the first (and last) away friendly before the action kicks off, and frankly we’re not sure Rangers are that ready.
While the playing squad, in theory, has a good amount of quality in it, the balance isn’t there with the system yet, with a lightweight midfield, a non-existent defence, and a disjointed attack.
Which is not us being ‘grumpy and negative’, it’s just us being realistic and honest.
The optimistic angle is to trust Michael Beale’s project, believe in what he’s doing, and have faith he’ll get it right when it matters.
Problem is his past track record when it counts has been poor, and he’s failed to get it right on multiple occasions.
So we need to have faith he’s learned from that. But then the problem there is preseason offers no glimpse of that as yet – particularly his disdain towards defence and subsequent criticisms of it.
Are we being negative? We’re Rangers fans, we don’t want to be negative, we want our side winning every match be it in the SPL, a friendly, the UCL final or tiddlywinks.
Michael Beale has had a clean slate to rebuild Rangers on, and we hope and urge that the signs of the fruits of his labour materialising begin v Hoffenheim – it’ll be a tough match v a good German side and with lessons learned in the last three friendlies, a man as smart as Beale will surely have a new and effective angle to offer this one.
Kilmarnock then await, on their dodgy pitch, so a morale-boosting performance and win v the Bundesliga side would really help settle the fans, players, and indeed Beale himself.
Let’s hope for that progress.