Rangers star Bongani Zungu has done little to live up to his sterling South African reputation since arriving at Ibrox and a high-profile Covid-19 breach certainly didn’t help matters.
Amiens loanee Zungu, 28, was the eldest of the Covid Five who breached strict lockdown rules to attend a party in Glasgow’s westend which was broken up by police.
As the fall-out and subsequent dramatic overreaction – even from some Rangers quarters – took hold, even Gerrard suggested the Bafana Bafana star had missed his Ibrox chance.
When asked if Zungu’s time was up, Gerrard said [Glasgow Live]:
“I think that would be fair to say, yes.
“That will take care of itself and we’ll move forward with the players who have remained professional and want to be part of a successful team.
“We spoke as a group and I explained the situation to them.
“We’re at such an important time of the season with the fixtures coming up that we can’t be worrying about it or letting our focus slide.”
However – and whilst at the time emotions were certainly running high – since the event Gerrard, Ross Wilson and Rangers have accepted apologies for the breaches and Zungu has been back amongst the squad.
Alongside Nathan Patterson, the pair are the only two to see action for Rangers since the incident and for all intents and purposes all is forgiven.
But has it been forgotten?
You could be forgiven for thinking the incident had escaped the mind of the SFA, who took over a month to investigate the situation and put the case before a disciplinary panel.
Only this week – an age from the incident happening in mid-February – have the SFA convened to dole out a punishment.
As it stands Zungu will miss four games between the Scottish Premiership and the Scottish Cup – along with his fellow Covid breachers – meaning there is still room for him to win a deal.
Including this weekend’s visit of Cove Rangers and provided the Gers progress in the Scottish Cup, Zungu will have six matches from the Old Firm derby on 2nd May to win a permanent deal.
A perennial substitute in the beginning of his Rangers career, Zungu has either been unable or not been trusted to replace veteran midfielder Steven Davis this season.
Two of the three occasions domestically where he did so – against St. Mirren in the League Cup and against Hamilton in the Premiership – wound up as two of the only disappointments in a Rangers season largely devoid of them.
But an impressive showing in the Europa League away to Lech Poznan and Zungu’s continuous use as a late substitute to shore up games suggests that there might be more there behind the scenes.
But with the Ibrox side reportedly needing to stump up £2.7m (€3m) to make the deal permanent [Daily Record], providing there isn’t already an agreement in place Zungu has been handed one last chance to leave a proper impression on Steven Gerrard’s side.
Whilst the SFA have finally reached their decision on the punishment handed out to the Covid Five, Rangers are still said to be “considering” their next move over the judgement.