October 25th 2017 – Rangers are held to a 1-1 draw against bottom of the league Kilmarnock

November 24th 2017 – Rangers lose 2-1 to bottom of the league Dundee

There needs to be a turning point. There needs to be a defining moment which reunites the players with the bewildered and tired supporters. There has been a lot of talk regarding the form at Ibrox during home games and the crowd expectations and moans and groans affecting the players and their confidence.   

For me, I just see a Rangers team full of cowards when it comes to handling that kind of pressure. When was the last time anyone in a Rangers jersey in front of a packed Ibrox actually turned around during a game and put in a performance that said “Do you know what? I deserve to be here and I’m going to show you all why!”. When was the last time someone really connected with the fans and understood the reason why the moans and the groans come down so loudly? The biggest disappointment and the real reason a lot of supporters vent their anger is that it can’t be accepted to go behind to Hamilton at home and Dundee away in the same week and then see everyone from the management down to the players passing the buck to see who fancies trying to get us back in the position to win the game.

Let’s cast our minds back folks, exactly one month ago from now, October 25th 2017.  One injury time missed penalty against Kilmarnock was the difference between Rangers being 4 points off the top of the league.  As we all know Kilmarnock grabbed an equaliser immediately which almost certainly was the final nail in the coffin of Pedro Caixinha as Rangers manager. 

As it stands, Rangers are now 9 points adrift of Celtic having played a game more. 12 points if you go with the form book. The unthinkable scenario now having just witnessed a shambles of a performance against Dundee is that Aberdeen would take maximum points from next week’s double header. Potentially 18 points behind Celtic and 12 behind the Dons in the 1st week of December would be the worst run of results and situation any Rangers supporter could imagine. It simply cannot be allowed to happen, but it certainly is a realistic yet unpleasant thought now for every one of us who bleeds blue. 

As a Rangers support we all deserve better. Forget the journey and the banter years. Right now more than ever the powers that be running the club from top to bottom need to bring someone in that will glue the whole club back together. For me that man could only be Walter Smith. As proud a support as we are there is only so much we can take.  

Allowing a youth team caretaker manager to handle first team affairs for a month is UNFORGIVEABLE for a club with the proud history of managers Rangers have had. As soon as Caixinha was shown the door there should have been someone in within the week.  

As a Rangers supporter I am possibly asking the same question as everyone else when I say this. 

“One Month on and still no new manager! Why?” 

Why would you sack Caixinha having let him bring in virtually a whole new squad? Even worse, how could this dismissal have been signed off without a standout ready-made manager awaiting to take over the managerial post?  

At the time of his dismissal, Caixinha’s Rangers were only 6 points adrift of Celtic.  In my opinion the challenge for the title was still realistic at that time.  It was fair to say the media and the Kenny Miller situation played some part in Caixinha being shown his P45, quite possibly he may have lost his job anyway had Daniel Candeias scored that penalty against Kilmarnock such was the way the vultures of the Scottish press were out to character assassinate the man at every opportunity. 

Despite the critics of the Portuguese, there is no way this Rangers side under his leadership would have lost against Hamilton and Dundee in the same week or as tamely as they did. The Kilmarnock match Rangers should have won, Caixinha cannot control a missed penalty kick in injury time. The Hibs and Motherwell defeats at least Rangers went down fighting, maybe the lack of discipline contributed to the defeats but at least there was passion from players and the manager. 

Friday night against Dundee I saw no passion, no commitment and no heart from anyone wearing a Rangers jersey. That’s not a Rangers team. When you wear that jersey it’s one thing being able to handle the pressure of the crowd and the expectancy to win, but what separates the heroes and the legends of Rangers from the rest of the imposters is the ability and the resilience to grow into the jersey when the chips are down and when the team is facing adversity.  

In all my years watching Rangers there was always someone that would take it upon themselves to drag Rangers back into a match they were losing. Football is the easiest game in the world when your winning 3 and 4 nil and confidence is high, but the real making of a player, especially a Rangers player, is how you react to being behind and what you are going to do to fix it. I was lucky to enjoy the 9 in a row era and the great players that contributed to that successful period. However, no matter how talented that nucleus of players were, there was character and resilience in those guys that made them worthy of the jersey.  

The fact is, Under Walter Smith during that 9 in a row period there was countless games where Rangers had gone behind in games, the players did not panic. They were Rangers players after all. They BELIEVED in themselves and their team mates that they would still be able to win games from a losing position. This mentality and inner belief fed it’s way into the support, especially at Ibrox.  

The difference between now and back then is the Rangers support do not feel the same level of trust within the current squad of players, and have not done so for a long long time. So many setbacks, so many letdowns and yet so much continued support. Any other club would have seen their support levels drop throughout the climb up the lower divisions and with the recent struggles had during the delayed return to the top flight.  

Having watched the Graeme Murty post-match interview I genuinely do feel for the guy. Murty is a likeable chap and he speaks well about Rangers. But he should never be anywhere near our first team again as sole decision maker, and I was of this opinion before the embarrassing defeats against Hamilton and Dundee. Again it goes back to having someone in charge that instantly commands respect and fear. For example, and this in no way is an excuse for dropping points against Dundee but it needs to be highlighted, why was there only 2 minutes of injury time given at the end of that match when Rangers are chasing for an equaliser?? As far as I knew the rules were 30 seconds per sub plus any goals scored there is time added on at the end. But despite that, what about the injury to young Ross McCrorie? Did the officials forget about the stamp on him that left him requiring attention for the best part of 2/3 minutes? If that’s a Walter Smith in charge of Rangers in any circumstance the time added on is closer to 5 minutes which it should have been. It felt like the sidelines had all accepted defeat without a fight, that’s not acceptable. No matter what, there should always be that belief and fight until the very last minute, and that belief is sorely lacking from the sidelines and on the pitch at present.  

Some might say the 2 minutes injury time is nothing more than an excuse. The game was done and Rangers were beaten. The fact is, Rangers dropped 2 valuable points against Kilmarnock when there was 6 minutes of injury time played, the 2 minutes the other night will not mask the fact we were poor and probably deserved the defeat but the feeling of nervousness that a 5 or 6 minutes shown on the 4th officials board creates in the heads of both supporters and players could easily have worked in Rangers favour to snatch a draw, albeit a draw is still not good enough. My point is, our manager needs to be strong and have the influence and authority which commands respect and fear once again the way it was under Souness, Smith etc. 

The Rangers support have suffered enough, 5 ½ long years of EVERYONE laughing at us and kicking us when we were down. Throughout all that the pride of each supporter has been battered. As much as the players right now like to praise the supporters they simply do not understand the meaning of playing for our club if they think it is okay to hide on the park when the crowd are on their backs and the opposing team are dominating play and leading during a game. There needs to be a turning point, something needs to click with all of them to realise this. 

The mentality of the players feeds into the crowd, especially at Ibrox. No game management to see a game out if winning by the odd goal, the nervousness of the players naturally feeds into the stand and vice versa. Combine this with the situation of Rangers trailing opposing teams at Ibrox, the need for someone to grab a game by the scruff of the neck and proving why they are at the club instead of imposters hiding and giving more argument to their own critics that they should be nowhere near the club. 

The supporters just want to see success, sometimes the criticism is harsh and over the top, but what do the players expect? Our support has been brought up on successful times and players with a certain resilience and winning mentality that bonded them with the supporters. A defeat against Hamilton at home is never acceptable but had this squad of players been undefeated up until this point and taken points against Celtic and Hibs as well as qualified for Europa group stages then they might have earned the respect and trust of the crowd to be forgiven.  

As it stands, every Rangers victory right now has been a false dawn, giving false hope to the Supporters who cannot trust the players to give us the performances and results we demand. They should demand it of themselves. Why would you want to continually be on the receiving end of so much criticism and scrutiny from your own fans when you have sampled how much better life could be on and off the park when the victories and performances are better?  

The next 2 fixtures will be the most important ones since our return to the top flight. Personally, for this team to have any hope of repairing some of the damage done with the support they will need to win both of them. Doesn’t matter how they win, just win. 

A real Rangers team with the Rangers mentality would go and win the double header against Aberdeen. These players need to stand up and prove they can get the job done, only then would the support be back on side. Anything else does not bear thinking about.