Todd Cantwell has played better as a Rangers player than he did at the weekend, but the sight of the playmaker looking a lot more like last season’s Cantwell than the subdued one this term, especially after the midweek debacle, was a very welcome sight indeed.
We’d heard word on the thin wires that he’d requested to leave in January, disliking this manager and being out of position every match, and the substitution was said to be his ‘final straw’.
But we’d suspect Philippe Clement’s apology on Sunday offered an olive branch to Cantwell.
He played him in his correct slot at last, then removed him close to the end of the match for a standing ovation from the crowd – as close to an admission that the boss got it wrong midweek as we’ll get.
Social media was filled with ‘this is what happens when he plays in the correct position’-type rhetoric, and fans seemed a lot happier with his display than the poor previous ones of the present season.
And despite Clement’s protestations in the press (where he still fractionally criticised Cantwell and said Thursday was the attacker’s fault) Sunday’s actions spoke louder than words and he placed him in the proper 10 slot and made sure the crowd got to give him his dues as he went off.
It was a lot better from Todd. He looked more energised and much happier in his correct position, and of course, he offered two assists, big currency in his position.
Not his best, no, we’ve seen better from him, but much more like what we saw v Sparta and much more like last season.
Has this saved his Rangers career?
We’ve seen him at his finest – he’s not a player we want to lose when he’s on form, and when he’s in the zone he’s a £40M player at his peak. He’s just been a long way off that this term, and that was, in fairness, even before Clement shunted him wide right.
If this ‘scare’ is what it’s taken to get Cantwell back to his best, then we support it.
We tried to be neutral on the whole affair – defending Cantwell against Clement’s actions on him, defending Clement by criticising Cantwell’s attitude.
All we want is what’s best for this club, and if this was Clement’s strategy to get the best from Cantwell in quality and attitude, it might just have worked.
Time will tell if the Belgian played a blinder.