Last night’s win over St Johnstone was by no means a great performance – it was slow, ponderous, and once again laboured to the 3 points, all of which came from Cyriel Dessers, with a penalty won and a fine clinical finish sealing the deal.
But Rangers simply had to win, Ibrox Noise absolutely preached the importance of securing the momentum and maintaining the pressure on Celtic, and the side did that, which we’re delighted with.
St Johnstone set up a pretty clear ‘gameplan’ – low block, stop them, by any means necessary.
Quite a few of Rangers’ players were targeted for rough treatment, with John Lundstram coming a cropper to an over-zealous Diallang Jaiyesimi whose tackle on the ex-Sheffield man wasn’t malicious (he clearly aimed for the ball) but badly reckless, as he mistimed and followed through. A red, just like Cifu’s.
And you know what – there’s nothing wrong with a ‘diddy’ team roughing Rangers up – what kind of pansy argues against a physical opponent? A snowflake, that’s who.
They played to their strengths and tried to scrap for the draw, which, naturally, didn’t work out for them, but it’s up to Rangers to show resilience against these wee ankle biters like Saints are.
Of course, Jaiyesimi went too far and was rightly red carded, but what more can we say on that – aside it being a pity our players don’t dish out the same treatment more themselves. Even Lundstram, closest thing to an enforcer that we have, really doesn’t hatchet opponents.
We don’t have a Roy Keane or a Ryan Porteous, a nasty wee sh*t who winds the opponent up and leaves something on them.
And that has been an issue for years, with no one ever signed who really gives the opponent something physical to think about.
But the win was what mattered. Sure, we’ve literally got no midfield now aside Dujon Sterling and Kieran Dowell, but the 3 points were all that mattered.
We now close the gap on Celtic to 2 points with two theoretical games in hand – Celtic on the 30th, and Hibs next month.
Win those two, no easy feat true, and Rangers lead the Scottish Premiership by 4 points. Assuming, of course, wins in all the other matches too… we can’t presume this to take place.
But it’s in our hands, and Philippe Clement is keeping it in our hands.
We didn’t play well last night, but it won.
That’s all that matters.