As the last campaign was brought to a premature halt, it’s easy to forget the pickle that Rangers found themselves in little over a year ago in March 2020.
By the time the coronavirus pandemic took hold in 2020 Rangers’ season had begun to unravel as fan pressure and a succession of poor results began to mount with a Scottish Cup exit to Hearts intensifying pressure around Steven Gerrard.
It’s remarkable to think that following that Hearts defeat there was a genuine fear that Liverpool legend Gerrard could walk, his post-match interview enough to send a jolt up the spine of any Rangers supporter in retrospect.
A home defeat to Hamilton would follow and there was increasing frustration in the support and growing doubts that whilst the Gers were moving forward, Gerrard might not be the man to take us the final mile.
How wrong many of us were; Gerrard proved this season that where there are challenges and where he has made mistakes, he will find solutions.
When it comes to the domestic cups, there is nothing to suggest that Rangers won’t find the answers here as the Ibrox gaffer provided a flashback to 13 months ago in his post-match frustrations.
🎥 REACTION: Steven Gerrard answers questions from the media. pic.twitter.com/Cywq3uexg8
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 25, 2021
Gerrard’s right; at Rangers one out of nine trophies is not good enough and the manner with which we exited both cups this season has been nothing short of unacceptable.
But whilst a league and cup double would’ve certainly been nice – and it’s largely inexcusable that we didn’t get this over the line – this season was about one thing and one thing only.
Rangers have delivered 55 and come the 15th of May the rankling frustrations of our cup exit to St Johnstone will be extinguished in a river of champagne and joyful tears.
Let’s look at the bigger picture.
Given our rampant league form this season – and subsequent unbeaten campaign to date – it’s perhaps led to some believing we’re the finished article, a misconception we’ve reached our destination.
Indeed, our form in the cups and a shortness in certain areas of the squad only stands to prove that this is fundamentally not the case and a few people have maybe come crashing back down to Earth with the Cup exit.
But this isn’t something which we should look at as a negative – there is still plenty more to come from this side and I personally believe it’s important we don’t get too bogged down in this defeat.
There is plenty of cause for optimism.
Whilst our desperate rivals might be cheering the fact we won’t win the Scottish Cup, they need only look at the determination, experience and ambition of those in charge of our club and the absence of this at theirs.
Rangers will come back from this stronger; Gerrard’s post-match comments were like a lightning bolt to his players and a veiled threat about getting in the right bodies if they can’t follow through in all these competitions.
This isn’t the end of the journey for this Gerrard side – even if it is for many Rangers fans desperate for that first league title – and if anything we’re only at the beginning of this arc.
Gerrard strikes as a man who won’t rest until he gets things right, it’s almost like he takes these defeats personally, growing more ruthless with every passing failure.
You can bet that whilst all this side’s energy was focused on league duty this season, that won’t be the case next year.
Sure, it hurts us to exit the Scottish Cup and it hurts even more that we haven’t won the competition since 2009.
But it hurts the backroom staff and the players just as much and if we didn’t get it right this year, hell mend anyone standing in our way in the next campaign.
Rangers fans were left fuming at full time as the club crashed out the cup to St Johnstone but they were in unanimous agreement regarding one aspect of the match.