Heading into RangersChampions League qualifying clash with Union Saint Gilloise, Connor Goldson was in defiant mood as he leapt to the defence of John Souttar.

Railing against criticism from the Ibrox support after what was a difficult debut for the defender in the 2-1 win away to Livingston, Goldson was commended for supporting his teammate.

But after what was a diabolical performance in Belgium, any soundbites regarding player criticism will not be welcomed as the club and fans were let down by the players and management.

There can be no denying this; a Rangers team being outplayed is forgivable, but one being outfought, given the contribution the supporters make to the club, quite simply isn’t.

Rangers haven’t been in the Champions League since 2009 and it will take a monumental effort to change that this season with confidence in this team on that particular stage waning by the match.

There was nothing in this game to suggest that Rangers can turn this around at Ibrox; it’s on the players and staff to prove bitterly disappointed fans otherwise.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst gave the Belgian side too much respect, the players showed a lack of quality and leadership, Rangers looked bereft, nervous and ramshackle at times.

This was a Rangers team devoid of ideas on this stage and who quite simply are not cutting the Champions League mustard in a monumental failure of club, squad and game management.

Rangers fans want more from club on Champions League stage

It is not unfair for Rangers fans to both expect and demand that our club beats teams such as Union Saint Gilloise – bankrolled by Brighton’s owners may they be – on this stage.

If the club cannot manoeuvre their way past the Belgians, as they couldn’t around Swedes Malmo last season, it is a failure of leadership from top to bottom and questions must be answered.

It’s not enough to say “ah well the competition is fierce and there’s always next year”. Consistent failure at this level is unacceptable.

What’s more, it’s the bones of the same team, albeit decimated by injuries and our own insistence on retaining several players who cannot stay consistently fit, who chucked the league last season.

The Boardroom failed in the January window, the management failed to get the most from the squad, the players too often failed to properly represent us on the pitch on league duties.

Royale Union Saint-Gilloise v Glasgow Rangers - UEFA Champions League Third Qualifying Round first Leg
Photo by Joris Verwijst/BSR Agency/Getty Images

Had they done their job, as the support always do their’s, then we wouldn’t be in this situation and we would be sitting as Premiership champions using the golden ticket we won for Scottish football to skip by these stressful qualifiers.

But alas, we are in the preliminary stages of the Champions League, in a mess of the player’s own doing, and one plenty believe they are incapable of cleaning up.

So whilst defiant soundbites are all well and good, Connor Goldson will need to respect the Rangers support for exercising their right to criticism as his team come up short for the club once again.

The match with Union Saint Gilloise has also made headlines around football for all the wrong reasons.

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