On the way to Hampden today to see Rangers against Hibs, I almost couldn’t help but buy into the positivity surrounding this Premier Sports Cup semi final.
In the crowd – some absolutely rowdier than others – you’d have been hard-pressed to find a single Bear who didn’t, at the very least, recognise the threat of Hibernian at Hampden.
And yet, we all entered the stadium with a belief in this team which quite clearly stretched beyond the boundaries of Steven Gerrard.
For Rangers over the last few years, Hibs have proven a decent level of opposition but more often than not, the Edinburgh side have caused us to raise our game and overcome.
The Easter Road club always prove decent fettle for this Rangers side and heading into this match – optimistic might the Bears have been – surely this side would’ve recognised the danger.
Having not won a game – nor barely played one – since Rangers dumped them at Ibrox, Hibs were a team in redemption and in reflection.
Enough time had passed to assume this side would’ve come out with the hunger to exact revenge on us for that Ibrox loss and – despite the confidence around Govan – our team must’ve sensed this. On some level the fans did.
And yet, on the park at Hampden was – and I am aware of the emotion surrounding the defeat– the most gutless and tepid performance this group of players has ever pathetically mustered.
Forget Hearts at Tynecastle (both of them) and forget Hamilton at Ibrox.
Rangers fail to show up for fans in Premier Sports Cup Hibs defeat at Hampden
Rangers today had both an opportunity and the responsibility to show the fans that, amid all the chaos, representing them and putting in a performance worthy of them mattered above all else.
Somewhere between the umpteenth poorly defended corner of the season and the panicked Rangers reaction to some basic Hibs offensive play and subsequent penalty was this confidence lost.
Rangers – 3-0 down within 38 minutes at Hampden – had surrendered to the notion that Steven Gerrard was more important than every single fan in that stadium.
We have heard lots of language around the apparent assets in our squad, but at this very moment their performance speaks more for Gerrard’s management than it does for their ability.
For leaders like Connor Goldson – overenthusiastic and undeniably more responsible than most in both boxes – it raises questions not just of their concentration, but their genuine ability.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst was in the stands and must’ve been looking on with nervousness at both the performance from this side – at both ends – and the reaction from the fans.
Rangers – it had been mused – were in a very good position prior to this game and the job would’ve been the envy of several managers currently out of work.
You’ll forgive this moment as folly for our detractors claiming it looks like patchwork for Gerrard’s exit now.
That’s one competition of the active three fallen and Gio is now tasked with proving it’s a single tower and not a domino as soon as Thursday evening.
But perhaps most importantly, the Rangers team must prove that fan belief in their abilities wasn’t just pinned up by the aura of a man who left them just as quick as he left Ibrox.
Meanwhile, Rangers fans have been wishing a departing coach all the best after it was announced he’d be leaving Ibrox.