The year 2021 will go down as one of the most important in Rangers history. The club won its first league title in ten years and even better, prevented Celtic from reaching their holy grail of ten in a row.
Although winning the Scottish Premiership title unbeaten was way beyond what anyone could have dreamed of, there were still some disappointments throughout the year.
Our failure to win either the League or Scottish Cup was a major letdown, this was practically offset due to our resounding success in the league, however, it is always nice to add a domestic cup or two into the trophy cabinet.
Failing to qualify for the Champions League group stage at the start of the season was also disappointing, especially with our success in the Europa League over the previous two seasons.
Overall, 2021 will never be forgotten, looking ahead to 2022 however, I have made three bold predictions for what could happen in 2022 for the Ibrox side.
Winning the domestic double
Ultimately, the league is the club’s bread and butter. Winning the title, especially this year, will more than likely send Rangers into the money-spinning Champions League group stages for the first time since 2010/11 (if this year’s winners qualify via their domestic league).
The aim for Giovanni van Bronckhorst and his staff should be to add take the Scottish Cup seriously and win it for the first time since 2009, a truly shocking drought for a club the size of Rangers.
There is absolutely no reason, with the club’s squad depth and talent, that we can’t win both domestic trophies still available to us by the end of the season.
Holding both the league title and Scottish Cup come the end of the season will surely prove just how much of a masterstroke it was to appoint the Dutchman. The initial signs are promising so let’s hope he can continue to build momentum and prove last year wasn’t an anomaly.
Exceeding expectations in the Champions League
Should bold prediction number one be achieved, then the club will find itself amongst Europe’s elite in the Champions League group stage.
Rangers’ constant improvement on the continent has arguably been one of the most enjoyable aspects of following the club over the previous few seasons. Who would have thought after seeing Pedro Caixinha arguing with fans in a bush, that we would be reaching the last 16 of the Europa League two years in a row?
The journey has been brilliant to watch, and this experience will stand us in good stead when it comes to competing against European royalty.
The Dutchman will surely strengthen the club during the summer transfer window and if we manage to keep our key players at the club, then I’m going to stick my neck out and claim Rangers will qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League in 2022.
It is the next step up for the club, and with a manager with Champions League managerial experience, then it is surely not unrealistic.
Not selling any of our prized assets in 2022
This could be the toughest one of all, many of our players are in high demand after their performances during the title-winning campaign and throughout this season.
The likes of Joe Aribo, Ianis Hagi, Glen Kamara, and Alfredo Morelos would surely command sizeable transfer fees if Rangers were willing to let them leave. This simply cannot happen if the Ibrox side wants to achieve sustained success, and I firmly predict that we will avoid the need to sell any of our key men next year.
Winning the title will provide us with vital Champions League finances that may prevent the club from needing to sell at least one player.
The reality is, Rangers, along with Celtic, are selling clubs. Football has moved on and Scotland has been left behind, we now buy talent young and at a fair price, before developing and selling on for a profit.
Eventually, Rangers will lose Aribo and Hagi, but I think they will want to be a part of the project that van Bronckhorst is currently building.
These three bold Rangers predictions may or may not materialise next year, however, a man can dream.
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