And as promised, at long last, the Rabbi Matondo piece Ibrox Noise has been threatening.
Yes, the 22-year-old Wales winger, who’s dropped out of the national team in the past year due to his difficult first season at Ibrox, came on yesterday to absolute disgruntlement and exasperation. There was no hint of cheer or relief at the sight of either of the attackers.
Indeed we can rarely remember a substitution less vaunted by the fans than he and Abdallah Sima when they replaced the fairly ineffectual Sam Lammers and Cyriel Dessers, and while Sima had his big moment with a goal, it was Matondo who won over a LOT of doubters with a fear-free cavalier display.
It was the first time since Spurs in preseason last season that Matondo has looked anything like the potential he promised, but this was competitive football. And this matters a lot more than an exhibition match.
This was, by a distance, his best performance as a Rangers player, and if ever a player made use of a limited amount of time, who really NEEDED to (Jose shone for 20 as well in midweek), it was Matondo.
Two driving runs, one free kick won, an assist, and 90% passing level not to mention TWO key passes was about as much as the ex-Schalke man could have delivered in 20 minutes to prove he’s worth considering.
Now, there’s the huge caveat – it was Livingston at home, not a massive colossus on their own patch, so the circumstances have some small relevance, but it was still a critical and competitive match and his arrival absolutely changed the match from potential rout to actual demolition.
His purpose and intent was clear the moment he came on, and that was heartwarming to see – a player derided by 99% of the fans, including ourselves, for well over a year, defying his critics to win a lot of them over with a performance night and day from the difficult time he had last season.
Now, this isn’t anything new – Borna Barisic infamously took 15 months to settle in at Ibrox, and it was that free kick at St Mirren that changed his Rangers career completely. If this cameo has done the same for Matondo, we welcome it.
Michael Beale said Rangers are missing a ‘Ryan Kent’ type player – he may just have found one.