The Scottish Cup Final
While there had already been question marks over Warburton's ability to find big results away from home in defeats at Hibs and Falkirk, the title was won in convincing style and a late dip in form was simply put down to the usual end of season stuff - the title was won, nobody was wanting to get injured ahead of a cup final. Besides which, the victory over Celtic assuaged all doubt whatsoever. Things were very good at Rangers, and victory over a side we were manifestly superior to would see us back in Europe and winning trophies well ahead of schedule.
Unfortunately, we got a pretty meek performance. Rangers missed Dom Ball, and Andy Halliday in defensive midfield guarding inconsistent centre-backs proved to be a serious problem. Not only was the game a serious black mark on his record, but that exact same problem continues to plague us - that was already bordering on unforgivable in the eyes of many fans.
The Joey Barton affair
GTBFO readers may remember that we were highly cautious over the move for Barton, although not for the usual reasons. We didn't doubt Barton was a rocket, but we assumed he was just a sort of general bam that it's difficult to like rather than somebody who started dressing room rows and upset the team. Our main problem was that we considered him highly overrated, old and slow. Barton turned up and turned out to in fact be exactly the type of general bam that it's difficult to like, but also one who started dressing room rows and upset the team, and was highly overrated, old and slow.
The ensuing shambles over a training-ground argument and his ousting from the team left Warburton between a rock and a hard place. He simply couldn't come out of it looking good at any angle - those who backed Barton to shine bemoaned such harsh treatment for a potentially excellent player, while those who warned against it were simply able to go into ah-telt-ye mode.
The slow realisation of just how bad our summer was
The summer recruitment looked to be a pretty good job. Most fans were expecting and wanting a highly-rated centre-back to come in, but the addition of experience in Clint Hill and Philippe Senderos would do. With the highly impressive acquisitions of Jordan Rossiter and Joey Barton, our defence would be well guarded. In addition, Joe Garner was a pleasant surprise that the club were willing to fork out for a striker, and he looked like he could be the physical penalty box striker we were desperately in need of. Elsewhere, Niko Kranjcar looked like an excellent move, Matt Crooks was highly-rated and Josh Windass looked very impressive, and Lee Hodson and Matt Gilks helped to provide much-needed cover.
We don't need to go into what happened with all of those. But we've spent an awful lot of money this summer to more or less have the same side on the park, minus the form of several key players, such as Martyn Waghorn and James Tavernier. In other words, we didn't even manage to tread water. When the requirement at the club is to progress and develop a squad, it becomes a lot harder to place your trust in a management team who oversaw such a total disaster of a window.
Repetition, Repetition, Repetition
We'll learn from this. We created plenty of chances. We didn't get our rewards. We'll learn from it. First half wasn't good enough. The response was excellent, we could've scored three, four or five. We've heard it so many times now. Creating chances and not finishing them is not bad luck, it's bad finishing and not creating good enough chances. Conceding from only a handful of shots is not bad luck, it's bad defending. It's a minor point, but it began to seriously grate as the season petered out.
Pittodrie and Tynecastle
While the league hadn't quite gone as expected, Rangers could point to injuries and stuttering form as a reason why they'd soon pull away from Aberdeen and Hearts once they got things into gear. Unfortunately, two defeats followed, and for the first time things looked seriously grim. It was at this point that GTBFO opined that Warburton was not the man for the job, and while even though the Aberdeen defeat was a touch unfortunate, it was also highly predictable.
A return to form followed as we went to get past a few diddy teams at Ibrox. Then game another visit to Tynecastle, to face a team struggling under new management who'd just brought in a load of frees who never played together. A massacre followed, the team were booed off, with plenty reserved for the manager himself thanks to his baffling decision to withdraw Emerson Hyndman. For the first time, a very large number of the support were against him.