Macedonia, Croatia, Slovenia and 9 men in Russia gave me hope heading to Spain last night to take on the La Liga might of Villarreal. I had tipped Rangers to win this one by 1-3 scoreline, I just had a positive feeling and also tipped Arfield and Lafferty to get on the scoresheet. Considering it’s been only a few short months since the manager began turning this squad around, my optimism could have been described as misguided at best
After all, we were travelling to take on a team from arguably the best league in the world at present, a team who boast £20m superstars. But I’ve saw enough in this Rangers team to make me believe, I had a quiet optimism.
After 44 seconds it seemed my optimism was perhaps widely misplaced.
At the weekend Rangers dispatched Dundee with relative ease and done something we had long since failed to do, making routine wins become routine. 4-0 victory flattered only Dundee but Gerrard was right not to be completely happy, in all honesty we hadn’t really needed to get out of second gear.
That is a huge positive given that this is still a work in progress under Gerrard and this management team. He wasn’t happy, he wants more and he is chasing perfection which even a 4-0 victory at home can’t bring.
I absolutely love that, we all should. That desire and ambition, to always be better, is exactly the kind of drive Rangers need to drive us back to the top.
I was a very young boy when Souness swept into Glasgow and revolutionised Our club, but when I speak to my uncles and older friends they all say there is similarities to what is unfolding now. I’m excited about this season, I’m positive about this team and for once I actually have genuine belief
Gerrard just excites me, it is Steven Gerrard after all. He speaks well, has an arrogance that’s needed and is full of confidence in his abilities. He has surrounded himself with clever people who are undoubtedly helping him; Beale, Milsom and McAllister’s influence can’t be understated. At this moment, we can be extremely positive that everything is pointing in the right direction.
So as the first minute unfolded in Spain I didn’t have the same dread I had before, even as the first half came to pass and we hadn’t really shown up, I had huge confidence Gerrard would sort it out.
The truth of the first half was clear, we sat off and didn’t press properly as we can. Too much respect was given and we looked like it was a step too far and a level too high. Misplaced passes meaning we were chasing the ball far too often, Lafferty was isolated and we offered zero threat. It was a first half we had seen before and I can’t help but think when we offer the opposition the opportunity to play their game, instead of doing what we do best, then that is the result.
The second half started more brightly but Villarreal did squander chances, Allan McGregor twice off his line left lobbing opportunities that were squandered. But we had a better shape, more energy and the much underrated Scott Arfield began to influence and it was that player who popped up to make it 1-1.
It was a lovely moment and brilliance from our captain. It’s worth pointing out we have Barisic and Tavernier who cost under £2 million pounds but will hugely contribute this season, yeah mistakes will happen but when they do we need to have some context. They offer far more to us than they don’t.
We lasted 90 seconds, a familiar life story, meaning once again we were chasing the game. Barisic was caught as Villarreal moved it quickly from left to right and suddenly we found ourselves 2-1 down. It was hugely frustrating but we weren’t down and out yet. We simply rolled up our sleeves and kept going
Step forward young Glenn Middleton as the youngster grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and drove the team on. In his cameos so far he has shown tremendous promise, last night he became a genuine young star. He immediately drove at his defender drawing a caution and with no fear, headed straight in attack every time.
It was his lovely defence splitting pass which meant Barisic was in on the left and his wonderful cross was dispatched by Kyle Lafferty, it was 2-2 and we thoroughly deserved it on guts alone. There was still time to almost win and lose it in the final minutes but it wouldn’t be Rangers if we didn’t!
Four years ago to the day we drew in Alloa, Rangers had just grabbed a draw from La Liga opposition. In the context of it being only a few short months under this management, it’s nothing short of tremendous
We can be hugely proud of this team, as a support we have deserved this moment given absolutely everything we have endured. This management team are returning us to where we have to be, we are Rangers and we are making Europe stand up and take notice. Nine games unbeaten should not be underestimated.
So with all that said we are undoubtedly a happy Rangers family this morning and we should be. We are an emerging side with all the attributes we want in our team; character, determination, guts and resilience. We have a team which finally it seems isn’t another false dawn. A team now which is becoming believable
If we could get our kit situation sorted and on sale then the good feeling amongst the support will really sky rocket, hopefully there is no more waiting but I have a feeling we will hear on that soon
What we must do now is kick on and make sure we go on a run domestically, with three victories essential before we return to European football. Every game will be huge and every game is a cup final for our club, the difference is we now have a management and squad that gets exactly what is needed
We are Rangers FC and we have people who actually get that
Well done to the players and management, let’s make sure we kick on now
Ignore the nonsense, the irrelevant and the noise
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You will also see we are displaying various Rangers youth development advertisements, this is something we recently offered to do in a bid to help promote the youth brand and latest initiatives in any way we can.
We would encourage everyone to sign up for Lotto and Pools if you can, this directly helps the youth development projects.
We also hope to announce some initiatives in the future from 4lads which will bring in funds for RYDC to help our young stars of the future
Yours in Rangers