With yesterday’s 2-0 win over Hamilton, Rangers made it six consecutive games in a row with a clean sheet and that’s pretty amazing.
It’s always a beautiful thing looking at the table right after the first game. Someone waking up from a few years coma and, naturally, spending his first seconds of consciousness checking the football, would wonder if they weren’t still asleep. There’s St Johnstone up there at the top of the table followed by…Livingstone? Did Rangers go into administration again and take half the league, the good half, with them?
Alas, normal service resumes within a week or two. Occasionally a team will go on an unreal run for a bit longer, but they all Hearts out by the end of it. So too, even the top teams will see their perfect records broken, goals will be shipped, points will be dropped. It’s normal because it’s incredibly difficult to be so utterly consistent in every game and every situation when football, like every sport, contains a lot of factors far outside each team’s control.
Sure we’ve hardly played the toughest opposition ever, but you can only beat whichever team is in front of you
It’s with this in mind that what Rangers accomplished today is nothing short of phenomenal. With their 0-2 win over Hamilton yesterday, they just broke a club record to make it six consecutive clean sheets and equalling a League overall record set by Celtic back in 1906.
After 6 shut outs, back to back, being able to look at the table and see Goals Against for Rangers still at 0 is incredibly cathartic, I gotta tell you. Sure we’ve hardly played the toughest opposition ever, but you can only beat whichever team is in front of you and if it was so easy, why hasn’t it been done before?
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There were a number of talking points about in what was a fairly routine game for Rangers. Ianis Hagi finally remembers what it feels like to put the ball in the back of the net. Ryan Kent added a few more million to his price tag, sorry Leeds fans. Rangers again had all of the possession, some 70%, and made all of the play – yet came away with a result that flattered Hamilton in the extreme. These things are easy to focus on, but being defensibly solid is always kinda just there – it’s nice but eh.
At least Rangers manager Steven Gerrard gave a little air time to the fact we did something that hasn’t been done in 114 years of football, as quoted by Rangers FC;
"“The lads deserve a lot of credit keeping clean sheets – which is a fantastic record to have and they deserve a lot of credit for that.”"
Not exactly gushing, was he? But who knows how long this run could continue for?
As things stand, Rangers are looking absolutely unassailable at the back and sketchy enough at the front. The latter is perhaps somewhat expected with the ongoing Alfredo Morelos saga, which has twisted and turned even since last we talked about it. The former, however, is out of nowhere. Can you imagine this situation happening under previous managers? And therein lies the rub, much of Rangers defensive strength has come under Gerrard – he’s not holding back praise to focus on negatives, only to be humble.
Now, it’s true, we’ve not come across a team yet brave enough not to park an almighty bus outside their box and play for the point. This isn’t always going to be the case, however, and more ruthlessness in said box is going to be absolutely crucial if we want the 55.
That said, for now, it’s nice to sit back, relax, and bask in the glow of a record set and a rival panicking. Not everything is perfect in Ibrox and much remains to be improved, but after 6 games the table still reads Goals Allowed: 0 under Rangers and that is a beautiful, beautiful thing indeed.