As we look back on 2021, Rangers’ achievements in going the league campaign unbeaten to win 55 and break 10IAR chanting Celtic hearts will stand out to fans.
But whilst 2021 was the year that delivered our greatest triumph in a decade – and one of the most important titles in our history – the last 12 months have not been without disappointment.
Here we look at the three biggest moments that still rankle with fans in a year that is best remembered for that historic title success.
Scottish Cup penalty pain at home to St Johnstone
With Rangers arrowing in on league success, attention would quickly turn to the Scottish Cup and earning a double for the ages.
But that enthusiasm would soon give rise to disaster as Rangers put in a lacklustre display to crash out at the hands of St Johnstone on penalties.
Saintees’ bluenose keeper Zander Clark joined the attack for a corner in the final minute of extra-time and won a pivotal header to set up Chris Kane who equalised after James Tavernier had given Rangers the lead with minutes to play.
The Gers would then crash out on penalties and St Johnstone would go on to win the Scottish Cup, their eventual Cup double seemingly help to soothe our rivals’ very open sores from 55.
Rangers 2021 Champions League exit to Malmo
Probably the biggest disappointment of the year, Rangers crashed out of the Champions League at the 3rd qualification round hurdle to Swedish Champions Malmo.
The same club who sent us packing in our last CL qualification campaign in 2011, in a kind of ominous throwback led by Celtic da hero Jon Dahl Tomasson – who Sevcoed his way through the press conferences – Rangers felt woefully underprepared and complacent heading into this tie.
A summer of reluctant transfer business coincided with a Covid-19 outbreak which to this day remains a mystery and Rangers lost both ties 2-1 to crash out 4-2 on aggregate.
To make it worse, Rangers were 1-0 up at halftime at Ibrox in the second leg with Malmo down to 10 men and still blew a £30m shot at glory. We’re still not over it.
If the Champions League exit and the death of dreams of playing Real Madrid, PSG and Bayern weren’t bad enough, that two-legged Europa League playoff v Alashkert added insult to injury.
Steven Gerrard’s 2021 Rangers exit to Aston Villa
He came, he saw, he got us 55 and then Steven Gerrard sloped off in the night breaking a few hearts in the process.
Steven Gerrard’s impact on Rangers was monumental and do not let the naysayers convince you otherwise.
Rangers were a basket case pre-Gerrard and his legacy extends beyond 55 into the refurbishment of Ibrox and the training centre, and philosophically into the adoption of an elite club mentality.
Fans need no reminder that before him, the Board had sounded out Derek McInnes instead.
It was a monumental effort and the Liverpool legend and his backroom team built a squad full of assets, on a budget dwarfed by our rivals, turning Rangers into European regulars once again.
Oh, and there is also the remarkable record against the other half of the Old Firm.
But there were shortcomings in Gerrard’s tenure and there’s something tragically poetic about how his exit coincided with the shambolic league cup defeat to Hibs just days later. Drastic domestic cup displays were the scourge of his Glasgow stint.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst has picked up were Gerrard left off – and there has been a clear boost as a result – but the manner of Stevie G’s exit has left a sour taste in some supporters’ mouths.
Perhaps in the years to come we’ll just be happy it happened and grateful of the progress made under the legendary Scouser.