Regulars to Ibrox Noise will know we’ve discussed the return of Walter Smith in 2007 more times than is probably healthy.
The reason we keep harping on about this particular season is that it is one hell of a bedrock, a benchmark, an example of what a fine manager, a world class manager can do even with a dire Rangers squad.
He turned round that shambolic Paul Le Guen mess and with a few signings made Rangers, overnight, the best team in Scotland.
17 points behind when he sat in the stands for Rangers v Utd, Rangers overall were 13 points behind after that first 17 matches of the season.
With Walter in charge Rangers topped the table for the second round of 17 matches, and did it again during the split.
Not by a boatload, but instantly making Rangers fractionally better than their Old Firm rivals. Some doing after being 17 points behind by the end of PLG.
The final deficit was still 12 points, but Rangers had stopped the bleeding and had reduced the gap.
This is the bedrock of brilliance Philippe Clement and every other Rangers manager is compared to, and while Clement didn’t have 17 points to usurp, but 7, he’s still managed to do it.
In four months of being in charge, Clement has turned Rangers around completely. He’s dropped 5 points total, and has reduced the gap to effective and theoretical zero.
Is he as effective as Walter?
Let’s not go anywhere near that. Walter was a genius, the greatest manager Rangers have ever had bar one or two other luminaries, and we’ll not trivialise the man by comparing a fellow who’s had the gig for 3 or 4 months with him.
But it’s clear that the sea change in Scottish football happening right now can indeed be compared with what Walter did that season in 2007.
Clement has overhauled a 7 point deficit, and it’s Rangers on the rise now.
He’s had 15 league matches, won 13, losing one and drawing one. In Walter’s first 15 league matches, which included the Split in his case, it was won 11 drew two lost two.
Clement, with absolutely no money (Walter had a few quid in that January window), has turned round an unassailable Celtic lead and put 56 firmly in Rangers’ crosshairs.
And he’s also done it with injuries galore, up against a Celtic with theoretically unlimited funds.
Not only that, but he’s already won a trophy…
The one big thing Walter absolutely did that Clement fell short of was that win at Parkhead. He travelled there in the March of 2007 and the late great Ugo smashed home a historic winner. Clement went there in December and got a few things wrong and we failed to take anything from Glasgow’s East End.
But overall, the big picture?
Clement has wiped out Celtic’s lead entirely, and can see the title within our potential grasp now. That is to say, the league is wide open – not even Walter could do that all those 17 years ago.
This title is there for the taking.
Rangers on the rise, Celtic on the fall.
Let’s make that continue.