Rangers had some good moments of quality play in the match against Partick Thistle at Firhill. The result and nature of the performance was such that positives could be taken whilst knowing better was possible. Given that these sort of matches are the ones fans worry about when it comes to Murty, it was pleasing to win with relative ease.
But all of that is overshadowed by one incident on the night. That, of course, is the celebration of Josh Windass.
For anyone who didn’t see it, when Windass scored his goal, he seemed to aim the “shoosh” celebration in the direction of the Rangers fans. It’s caused quite a reaction, and it’s clearly the talking point of the night for Rangers fans.
I have to bite a bit of a bullet with this one. Earlier in the season, when Kris Boyd criticised the Rangers transfer strategy, I was vocal about how wrong he was. One of the main premises behind my argument was that not everyone should be entitled to an opinon. If you state an opinion that isn’t backed up by evidence or facts, it doesn’t deserve to be respected.
If we’re honest with ourselves, our opinions on our players are rarely logical. Many fans seem swayed by a game-to-game viewpoint. Others are just critical constantly, and some do so with expectations and a belief of what should be happening which is misplaced. Sometimes, as I can often do, you’ll look for things in a player that aren’t really there and overrate them in many ways. As a collective, football fans aren’t knowledgeable about the game, and don’t seem very consistent with their opinions. That’s a sweeping statement, obviously, and doesn’t apply to ever individual.
However, from the viewpoint of a player, the fans are almost some sort of collective individual. They won’t really see the nuances in opinion, and will certainly hear from the critics more than the people who like them. That’s the nature of any sort of position where you’re in the public eye. Given that, footballers (who themselves are rarely rational or able to argue away things like this) will see the criticism they take as universal among the support. Certainly, at Rangers and various other clubs, Josh Windass is barely the first to have a go at his own fans.
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Now, as I believe that opinions from those who aren’t making a point from a place of evidence are best to be ignored, or even ridiculed at times, I can’t be damning for what Windass done. It used to be the odd newspaper article, a phone in easily ignored, and games where players took criticism. Now it’s all over social media, the coverage of the game is non-stop, and even if you don’t engage in that, you’ll hear about it. Supporters tend to be more critical of their own players than anyone else, for plenty of understandable reasons. There’s no way players don’t get annoyed about that.
What’s happening here is that Windass is being honest about his frustration at the criticism he’s taking. He’s going to be crucified for said honesty. I don’t blame him for being annoyed, and I certainly don’t find what he done offensive in the slightest. I’ve always hated the notion that fans can be abusive in ways they’d never do one-on-one, but take the huff when they’re called out on it. The opinions on Windass are largely based upon very weak, emotional foundations and deserve to be called out for that. Windass should be allowed the right of response.
It’s not going to end well, though. As a player who divides fan opinion, even amongst those who’ll be more balanced in that debate, he has given those who don’t rate him a good reason to continue that mindset. He’s also allowed those who were on the fence to pick a side without fear of any real consequence. It won’t matter how many agree or disagree with him, the biggest noise will come from his detractors. That’s now going to set the agenda, and be what he hears.
We’d all prefer to be talking about the game, and breaking down the excellent nature of the goals. Sometimes, things happen that need discussion instead of that. I hope to be wrong, but I can’t see any sort of long term positive coming from this situation.
What were your thoughts on Windass? Tweet us @rangersnewsuk to discuss!