After a pretty chaotic start to the season, a pattern is beginning to emerge. Rangers will handsomely defeat a team and play good football while doing so. We will then all enjoy the fact we have learned from previous errors, have finally got the team sorted, and look forward to going on a run. And then, we will start as such in the next game. And then, a bit later, we'll play turgid, abysmal football, concede a daft goal, and look about as likely to score as Paul the Tim in the Cathouse while doing so. And so on.
After such games, it's quite often to see fans going to any lengths to absolve Warburton of all blame. Did you see that change Waghorn missed? The gaffer's not telling him to blaze it over the bar, is he? And the players are to blame, they aren't showing any passion. Warburton's not got a squad good enough.
Saying that Warburton holds no blame if Rangers fail to score from every single shot is, frankly, ridiculous. The manager takes the blame for when things go wrong, just as he accepts the praise when things go well. If we're going to say Ross County and St Johnstone weren't his fault, then he gets no credit for the semi-final last year, since it was decided by penalties and our goals involved a lucky deflection and a 25-yard wondergoal.
People who go for this might also like to wonder exactly how it would sound if Warburton came out and said as much himself - that he can't do anything about players missing chances, or that they lacked passion. He'd be derided, and rightly so - there's a reason managers who do go down this route are generally loathed.
It may be surprising, but if the players aren't performing, it is the manager who buys, coaches, motivates and selects them. Football can be a game of fine margins, and sometimes the bounce of a ball or the referee can make the difference between two teams. The point is, we're Rangers - the gulf in quality between us and the other teams should be so vast that fortune and officiating can't bridge it.
Unfortunately, that argument also depends on us outplaying St. Johnstone and Ross County, which by and large we failed to do. We used to be like that, all late Wenger's Arsenal, dominating every game but the triangles coming off less the closer we got to the opposition goal, before we'd concede a daft goal. But things have changed - either they do come off now, or we don't even dominate and look no better than the team we're facing. By any measure, you can't say Rangers were unlucky in either of our past two draws. That might be the most worrying thing right now, but remember - even if we have 99% possession and lose to a goal off Darren O'Dea's arse, the manager still carries the can.