After Rangers fell to a spirit-crushing defeat to Hearts, it’s very much déjà vu for the club’s supporters.
Almost exactly one year on from blowing their title hopes at Kilmarnock, Rangers have just swung the Scottish Premiership pendulum back into Celtic’s favour with the 2-1 defeat.
Titles aren’t won and lost in January, they’re done so over a season, but you can’t help but feel this is a pivotal moment in the Scottish Premiership title race.
With two Old Firms to play and 17 games still to come, there’s plenty of time left for Rangers to claw back.
But any more slip-ups and we will struggle to lay a glove on Celtic in the business half of the season.
The problem here concerns the club’s inability to sustain pressure and to come out of these tough ties when we’re not at our best with points. Even one would’ve felt better here.
In the run-up to this match, it was clear Daniel Stendel had his Hearts team geed up with the arrival of eventual matchwinner Liam Boyce a major boost for the Jambos.
This was always going to be tough. They were always going to come out firing.
— Classic Heart Of Midlothian FC Goals (@HeartsGoals) January 26, 2020
And yet, flippant Rangers failed to get going and played at the exact same pace they have done in the last two matches against Stranraer and St. Mirren.
If there was any suggestion that those two matches were routine, what planet where the players on to treat this sort of match with the same level of intensity?
This is a performance and result we could all see coming.
The coaching staff also have to take a level of responsibility for their reaction to drab, uninspired displays in the two matches previously.
Underperforming players were afforded too much protection.
Every time Rangers get some momentum the pressure gets too much and our players appear to crack. Rugby Park last year, Tynecastle earlier in the season, Hampden from the spot.
The mentality of the players is being questioned but some of those Rangers fans who got a little too carried away in the aftermath of the Parkhead result are tonight licking their wounds.
For some of the club’s support, this result is a reminder that Rangers may well not be ready to lift that title just yet, and an all too familiar pain too.