If one absolute positive definitely arose from Parkhead, it was the performance of Renaissance man Dujon Sterling.
The Rangers defender, 24, simply hadn’t had a sniff of action in the shirt given James Tavernier is completely untouchable and hasn’t been injured since Sterling joined, meaning the ‘former Coventry reject’ had to sit idly by and got very few minutes.
But the big developments with Rangers’ appalling injuries the past two months gave the ex-Chelsea player a completely unexpected chance in midfield, and to say the lad has taken it with aplomb is doing him an injustice.
It’s not an exaggeration to say he’s Rangers’ best player recently, and while in theory it’s a big surprise that a RB has excelled this well in the middle, it’s actually not, because he had already almost 50 career appearances in football in midfield, particular in his youth.
Indeed, in his breakthrough season in football for Chelsea youth he was mostly in midfield in the first place, ditto his second campaign until his third season in 2018 saw him put back into RB and he remained there.
But in truth, Dujon is actually a midfielder by trade, and it’s only being put back in RB in his third season in football that saw him pigeon-holed there.
Back in midfield for the first time since those days, he’s thriving like he never has before.
We’re almost certainly seeing the reason a 24-year-old RB didn’t really thrive in football till borderline a few weeks ago – because he was basically in the wrong position.
In midfield he has completely bossed it, been Rangers’ overall best performer in recent times and taken his chance entirely.
It’s safe to say that the players currently unfit in that area aren’t just going to take their positions back if/when they’re fit, and Sterling has that place now on merit, and not just because there’s no one else.
He’s been a bit of an unknown quantity really, but let’s look at his numbers from Parkhead:
85% passing, joint with Lunny, one cross (accurate), 5 long balls (3 accurate), 3 tackles, 4 interceptions, 2 blocked shots and a clearance, and won 6 free kicks. We’d have given him more than 7/10 had the result been better.
This is a complete defensive midfield display, no doubt about it.
He’s big, strong, breaks up attacks, passes sharply and wastes little. If ever a player out from the cold has taken their chance it’s Sterling.
From fringe and disused to arguably Rangers’ most in-form player currently, Sterling really is shining.
Long may it continue.