Rangers fans complaining about the poor performances of their team lately attract a large amount of ire and anger from other fans. Much as when we sleep, eat, breathe, etc.
The message seems to be that it’s outrageous of Rangers to even consider the possibility that the mighty Celtic might ever be challenged. Not accepting 90-in-a-row is a disgraceful sign of entitlement and delusion, indicative of fans of the Bad Guys.
Forgive us if we don’t quite agree.
Celtic’s considerable financial advantage might affect the players they can put on the pitch, but it doesn’t affect the performance of those players. That’s the key point of it all.
Of course, Celtic haven’t performed to the peak of their abilities this season, just as Rangers haven’t. The standard response to Rangers fans demanding more of their team and pointing out where we might be had we won some clearly winnable home games is the usual “aye well if my aunt” riposte, but we’re talking about what Rangers can control - their own performances.
The simple fact is that Rangers did not need to be superhumanly good or unfeasibly consistent to challenge this season. Our positive results have clearly been well within our reach, but our negative ones have been entirely unavoidable. It’s not just been the odd slip-up which all teams suffer. It’s been a consistent pattern of home losses due to being unable to break down deep defences or prevent goals scored on the counter-attack.
If Rangers and Celtic amass their wealth to put the best team on the park they possibly can and both play to the best of their abilities, then of course there’s no contest. But that’s impossible. Celtic are going to have poor seasons, and Rangers can at least challenge by at least being consistent and getting key decisions right in big games. This year, they did have a poor season. We were neither consistent nor got key decisions right in big games.
Rangers’ squad is still a work in progress, of course. And we did have a disastrous first half of the season. But Pedro Caixinha’s reign is also a problem the board have to face up to. Now we’re in the position of hoping that last season was the blip for Celtic rather than this one. If it wasn’t, we’re in serious trouble - and this season was a much greater disaster than it might seem.
But of course, we can’t control what they get up to. We can win games at home though. We can sign players to balance the squad. And we can hire a competent manager who knows how to organise his team and deploy his squad for the variety of challenges an Old Firm manager needs to negotiate.
Get it done.