There’s a sinking feeling amongst a frustrated support that sleeping on our success has cost us dearly over the last 12 months with the final few days of the transfer window emblematic of the perceived negligence at Ibrox.
Celtic blew a timid Rangers side away at Parkhead with the Gers team’s visible lack of belief in this game worryingly symbolic of a perception that this squad lack genuine belief in the title race.
We’re barely into September and there are already murmurs that this league campaign might just be over. Worryingly, it looks like many of those in our team believe that too.
But whilst defensive soundbites will ring around inside the walls of Ibrox, the players, management and higher-ups desperately trying to soothe what is an emotionally scarring result for sure, there is a clear reluctance to admit that all those involved in the every day running of the club have let each and every one of us down badly.
This management team – led by the eternally calm Giovanni van Bronckhorst whose post-match interviews should be used by newborn parents to help send their babies to sleep – doesn’t lack for tactical creativity but they almost certainly do for charisma.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst has twice went into the lion’s den with the pressure on as Rangers manager and twice failed to motivate his team to muster anything that even remotely resembles a challenge.
It’s a failure of leadership, irregardless of his European success, and the worrying domestic away form is symbolic of a team who lack balls and bite on Scottish soil and who struggle to mentally deal with the challenge of playing for Rangers.
The players too, despite Gio’s post-match insistence that they had been primed for Celtic’s fast-paced tactics, absolutely crumbled. It was a shy, cowardly and pathetic performance in every department.
The issue is, with shoulders shrugged and a distinct lack of courage and responsibility, it’s getting increasingly hard to identify those who give a toss about this and those who don’t.
Rangers are always going to be up against it on the road in Scotland – no more so than at Celtic Park – and unfortunately this particular Ibrox side, led by perennial bottlers James Tavernier and Connor Goldson, appear incapable of dealing with it.
These two were amongst the most shellshocked of the bunch and when the chips are down and the pressure is on, they too often hide or aim to shift the responsibility.
They were too busy moaning at the referee, expecting favours or bemoaning their teammates to pay attention. They were scared stiff. This is our captain and vice-captain we’re talking about.
We’ve built a side who relish a tactical battle, one who can compete away from the incendiary, boiling pressure of the Scottish football cauldron and who much prefer to engage in a footballing battle of wits.
But for anyone in any doubts that too many of these Rangers players don’t have the stomach for rolling their sleeves up and digging in, they only need to watch that 4-0 Celtic bruising back.
At Rangers, a lack of quality can be excused; a lack of commitment and guts can’t be. I’ll be amazed if this lot and the club’s droning management manage to turn the league situation around. Sue me.
Rangers board seemingly only ones who couldn’t see 4-0 Celtic humbling coming
Then comes the Rangers board, fawned over in their ambitions to return the club to the top table but now looking increasingly like the kings of an unstable empire, hoarding their wealth and hoping to silence any of their detractors.
From the Sydney Cup, to the closed-shop approach to the press, to the clear, visible and almost comically predictable negligence in the playing squad, the arrogance of the Ibrox boardroom ever since we secured 55 has been both staggering and unbecoming of our club’s leadership.
Rangers fans can be excused for their post-2021 gloating but the fact we failed to build on a position of strength and resist Celtic’s rampant investment is scandalous.
Over two seasons they’ve invested close to £40m in their playing squad. Almost every single signing has been a success and their two most recent ones didn’t even need to touch a ball as their new teammates mocked our flailing players in an absolute schooling.
Rangers’ recruitment on the other hand has failed to deliver for the last three windows and the squad as a whole resembles the inside of an emergency room rather than a dressing room.
Rangers’ stinginess in the transfer market seen Steven Gerrard jump ship and the club has failed to improve despite clear warnings from the entire support that this side are not equipped to effectively challenge Celtic domestically.
The result at Parkhead simply proved it.
Where do we go from here? Well, to Ajax on Wednesday evening. Don’t be surprised to see this team do something spectacular when the pressure is off.
But then it’s to Pittodrie next weekend, where the faint few of us who’re still clinging on to title hope may join the ever-increasing number who’re rapidly accepting that this team, management and boardroom don’t have the courage to do what needs to be done to deliver domestically.
Meanwhile, a leading Rangers club insider has dropped a major hint regarding the future fee attached to a loanee taking Ibrox by storm.