Rangers fans are licking their wounds after their side fell painfully short in the League Cup Final against Celtic following an at times quite dismal display at Hampden.
The Gers were defeated courtesy of a Kyogo Furuhashi double either side of half-time, whilst Alfredo Morelos did pull one back for the Ibrox side in a 2-1 defeat.
But that old saying about there being a way to lose a match is ringing in the ears of Rangers supporters, with the club’s fans once again let down by the team’s bottle crashing in the big moments.
Despite showing flashes throughout the game, and the nervous Fashion Sakala missing a gilt-edged chance with the score at 1-0, Rangers were second best in this contest at Hampden.
The Zambian appeared to be feeling the pressure following his pre-match comments about the Ibrox side being the better team, but it wasn’t just him.
Celtic looked more decisive in attack and had more intent in midfield, Rangers pair Glen Kamara and John Lundstram sluggish and laboured, with Reo Hatate and Aaron Mooy finding space and running off them consistently.
Malik Tillman, who has been impressive since joining on loan from Bayern, was also not at the races.
It was in this area of the park that Rangers lost the game and – after hesitating with the substitutions at halftime – it’s no wonder all three players, Kamara and Lundstram on yellow cards, were hooked.
The players who came on were bogged down in a final 20 or so minutes of stuffy, erratic football with the ball kept in the air and Celtic being enjoyed some freedom to waste time by the referee.
Rangers lacked any real responsibility in this moment with substitute Nicolas Raskin occasionally managing to put his foot on the ball.
Change needed at Rangers as same old faces let us down v Celtic
Rangers are in the hunt to keep Tillman, who will have better games, but the form of both Kamara and Lundstram this season, and outside of the Europa League, has been immensely worrying.
Both have it all to do to prove that they deserve to be starting in the next Cup Final, or even in the starting XI beyond the summer.
Whilst there are moments in the game that could’ve swung momentum towards Rangers, without Allan McGregor the score would’ve also been considerably worse with the Ibrox stopper rolling back the years at Hampden.
But it wasn’t enough to keep out Furuhashi who twice swept the ball home from low crosses coming across the Rangers six-yard line.
The uncertainty between the sticks continues and Rangers will surely need to invest in this position in the summer as retirement looms for the Ibrox Hall of Famer.
Borna Barisic was also not aggressive enough in his crossing, often opting to play it safe despite being afforded a decent chunk of the ball, whilst Alfredo Morelos, despite scoring, lacked the mobility to properly hurt Celtic.
Both players have struggled to have the necessary impact over our Old Firm rivals for too long and looking to the summer it’s hard to argue against a different approach.
The youthful additions of Tillman, Raskin and Cantwell will in time become central, whilst the returning Ridvan Yilmaz, Ianis Hagi and Tom Lawrence will bring a freshness.
But as the club hands Celtic yet another trophy, going down without the necessary fight to encourage the Rangers support, there are more than a few for whom the end is surely nigh at Ibrox.
Meanwhile, Rangers have been linked with a move for Kevin Mantilla.