It’s difficult to really put a finger on the growing frustration between Rangers and the Scotland national team.
But somewhere between the gluttony of Rangers’ untimely demise in 2012, the booing of the club’s players on international duty and the growing politicisation of the Scotland fanbase Gers fans are being turned off.
The national side has – and for me, this is without a doubt one way or another – suffered as a direct result of Rangers being sent to the bottom tier of Scottish football.
And following Scotland’s 4-0 Hampden humbling to Belgium, the club’s supporters have been quick to speak about it on Twitter.
No Big Eck.
No Oli McBurnie
No Ryan Jack
Who will Michael “This Squad is Good Enough” Stewart blame this on?
I’m going with a retrospective angle that points the finger at Souness and Rangers for signing English players in the mid-eighties.
— Colin Armstrong (@moonman1873) September 9, 2019
Every Scotland fan that booed McLeish because he once managed Rangers deserves this result. You are the cancer that ruined our national team. I hope you feel proud of yourselves #SCOBEL
— Crazy Horse 🔴⚪️🔵 (@glasgowsportsfa) September 9, 2019
The spite within Scotland, the absolute hatred of anything that isn't Scottish
The absolute hatred of anything that is rangers, anyone currently involved in rangers, or anyone formally involved in rangers has killed Scottish football and its national team.
— Craigy Boy (@CraigGPBFB) September 9, 2019
The majority of the Tartan Army would rather endure this dross they pay to watch than welcome the Rangers fans back in the stands at Hampden and their players in the team.
Consumed by their hatred for Glasgow Rangers.
Hell mend them.
— 🇬🇧 Scottie C 🇹🇭 (@CurrieScott) September 9, 2019
Mad that Scotland national side and fans are anti rangers, I’m not anti Scottish, im just not for a side that criticise my club and players who play for my club 👍🏻 https://t.co/BX0OfBjC7m
— gregmcarthur (@gregmcarthur97) September 9, 2019
I forget Scotland are even playing these days. I have no emotional response to the results & simply look forward to any of our own players who've been called up, returning in full health.
I'll save my support for the only team for me. Rangers 💙
— The Famous (@___thefamous) September 10, 2019
1. SFA miss treatment of Rangers
2. Pro Celtic agenda within the SFA
3. Rangers players booed by Scotland fans
4. Rangers fans made to feel unwelcome by SNP majority with the Tartan Army
Why would we go?
— David King (@DavidKing10) September 10, 2019
A lot of Rangers fans made a huge chunk of the Scotland support but since the events of 2012 and clubs celebrating us being nearly put of existence I can’t blame folk for not going. So much for being together as a nation. https://t.co/IrCVTpdPIg
— Curtis 🇭🇷🇧🇦 (@1872Curtis) September 9, 2019
If someone told me 15 years ago I would be watching the N Ireland game over Scotland in the future I would have said no chance. Thats the reality for me though…. Would rather watch Davis in a game like this than Scotland.
— Rangers Bantz (@RangersBanter17) September 9, 2019
Rangers are Scotland’s premier club, with the biggest fanbase, and supporters should be endeavouring to cheer on the nation as it stumbles through over 20 years of tournament sadness.
Away from patriotic allegiances, what’s bad for the national team is also bad for Scottish football as a whole.
So where has this stinging bitterness come from?
After the events of 2012 Rangers have had three players near the national team.
Goalkeeper Allan McGregor – a hero for Scotland on plenty of occasion (but also infamously a villain once too) – has since retired from the national side.
Differently from Wallace and Jack, there was little conjecture over McGregor’s ability to perform in the Scotland shirt.
For many, there seems to be a great deal more hysteria when a Rangers-linked player flounders in the dark blue of Scotland.
Some have used the recent scapegoating of outspoken bluenose Oliver McBurnie as an example.
Many also felt that former Scotland boss, Alex McLeish, was unfairly hounded by members of the Tartan Army and the press because of his association with Rangers, particularly during the times of financial mismanagement at Ibrox.
In fairness to the Scotland support, he was never the man Scotland fans wanted as manager. He was on to plums the moment he walked through the door.
But isn’t it ironic that McLeish’s albeit stumbling achievements in the UEFA Nations League now stand as Scotland’s only chance to qualify for Euro 2020?
Without wading through the politicisation of the Scotland fanbase too much, there’s a clear and obvious clash between those voices emboldened by the independence referendum and traditionally unionist ones in the Rangers support.
Many Rangers fans don’t feel welcome.
It’s easy to call this one-sided too, but it isn’t. Rangers fans share a level of responsibility for the ongoing ill-feeling.
There’s often roaring schadenfreude in defeat from some quarters and even if there was some kind of olive branch, many members of the support wouldn’t take it.
It’s a position some have no interest in resolving.
I’d also be a liar if I haven’t heard some voices bark about cheering Celtic players in navy blue. A tad hypocritical given the outpouring of condemnation towards the booing of Rangers players.
But, and this is the most important thing here, everybody in Scottish football suffers as a result.
How a side in Northern Ireland – at closer quarters with just as if not more tense cultural and political differences than the Scotland side – can achieve at international level whilst Scotland can’t is incredible.
There’s always talk of a lack of quality, a lack of ability and lack of investment when it comes to Scotland’s failures.
But if you compare the Northern Irish and Scottish squads, and the followings, then you can clearly see that it isn’t a lack of quality that’s the main problem, it’s a lack of togetherness, solidarity and ambition.
Having all that isn’t everything – but as our close-knit neighbours to the West have shown – it certainly goes a long way.