I am more than aware that we really don’t want to talk about Saturday.
But sadly, there’s plenty to be said. The performance was not one which was a freak occurrence or some sort of blip. We’ve known we haven’t been playing well in the last couple of matches. The fans knew the team wouldn’t get away with that again. And that’s exactly what happened. The team got what they deserved from such an inept showing.
I don’t enjoy coming across as harsh or negative in any way. There’s a tendency for fans to be reactionary as football is an emotional game. That’s really how it should be, but for whatever reason I always find myself trying to look at things from a logical place rather than emotional. Neither place offers much to be positive about from Saturday.
Somehow, we’ve managed to stay the same amount of points behind Celtic since we lost to them at Ibrox. We’ve got closer to Aberdeen, and made a bit of a gap on those below us. All of that sounds ok, but it’s not been enough. The recent performances and lack of direction from the club is concerning. It’s fine for people like me to say “you have to expect poor performances in these circumstances”, but it’s certainly not in any way consoling. The fact is, like a Liverpool defence, our problems are of our own making. That’s now 9 matches Murty has been in charge of this time around. Of those 9, only 3 could be described as good performances. Injuries and uncertainty are playing a part, but it’s definitely arguable that the manager situation being sorted would have helped. Even if the players aren’t of the level we need to be consistently good, we’d have had more stability. It’s something that players require to perform to their best.
I don’t like to mention it, but the Hearts win over Celtic was something that raised more talking points. You’ll read a lot of Rangers fans suggesting that all we need to do is play in a similar way to Hearts to beat that lot. It’s a view that’s too simplistic. Celtic were really poor on the day, and sold most of those goals through individual errors. They’re unlikely to play that badly again any time soon. It also misses the biggest issue we have. When teams are organised, physical and carry some luck against us, we’re far more prone to dropping points than Celtic are. We seem able to give other teams in Scotland credit when they do well against others, but when they do so against Rangers, it’s the fault of our own team.
If Rangers were to win the next 2 matches, the fans would go into the New Year Derby with some hope. Both matches are difficult though, and will require a real improvement from the team. As I write this, there’s been reactions to a daft video featuring Cardoso, and the fact the players have had their Christmas night out. It’s seemingly easy to ignore the human side of the game when results aren’t perfect. These things are quickly forgotten, and will be barely mentioned come next weekend.
So in the spirit of positivity – let’s hope Saturday was the end of a run of poor performances, and that the squad picks up their confidence and level until the winter break.