The BBC’s Liam McLeod put it best when he said “Rangers are in an Old Firm torture chamber, banging to get out.”
This came after the most recent Old Firm derby, where a toothless Gers side lost 1-0 at Celtic Park. It was another poor set-back against a Celtic side that Rangers just haven’t been able to get the better of.
Whilst the Steven Gerrard revolution has kicked into full effect, a win against Celtic is still missing. It’s difficult to truly state that the club is back until they finally get the better of Celtic in a one-off match.
The fans are now at the stage where that result is needed, and it’s craved more than any other fixture Rangers will face this year. This is likely to cause some heated debate and I’ll brace myself for some insults, but I believe Rangers would happily exchange their start to the Europa League group stages for a win over Celtic.
In any other scenario, this would be small-minded. Now? Rangers need those three points against Celtic. They need to knock them out of a cup and announce themselves as a threat once more.
Something changed when Celtic won 3-2 at Ibrox in March last season. That was the game where Rangers should’ve finally ended their Celtic horror shows. Somehow, as has been the case in recent years, Rangers found a way to lose to their rivals. It’s becoming far too consistent, and despite the optimism built up this season, it needs to be solidified with a win over Celtic at Ibrox.
There is also the scenario that could occur where Rangers face their Glasgow foes in the Betfred Cup final. Winning that would be a monumental shot in the arm for Rangers supporters. That’s by no means a given, however, considering both sides have tricky semi-finals to navigate.
Look at the euphoria and optimism that sweeped Ibrox back in 2016. Mark Warburton’s Rangers had just outplayed Celtic at Hampden. It took a penalty shootout to confirm the win, but many recognise Rangers were the better side.
All of a sudden, there was a strong sense that Rangers were back. Granted, the Englishman made a hash of things after bringing Rangers into the Premiership. The victory, however, meant so much.
A similar result has to occur sooner rather than later. Should the next Old Firm be that Betfred Cup final, Rangers simply can’t afford to lose. Should the next Old Firm be at Ibrox? Rangers can’t afford to lose that either.
Supporters are getting infuriated, but outrageously for Rangers they’re getting used to it. Gerrard has to find a way to end those Old Firm woes this season. If he does, then he’ll be the most loved man at Ibrox since Walter Smith.