Recent injuries, and the ongoing global Coronavirus pandemic, should be a wake-up call to Rangers to strengthen the squad.
Remember how things were this time last year? A simpler time, with simpler pleasures. Things like going to see Rangers, popping out to catch a movie or see a friend, leaving the kids in one of those stuffy, ostensibly hellish, indoor play areas for a few hours – all these were so commonplace they didn’t even require thought. Yet who knows, it could have been at that very time that the first person ate a bat sandwich, sending the ball rolling down to the avalanche of 2020.
Life has changed so much, and nothing illustrates it more than the football. The absolute lack of atmosphere at the matches, compounded by the laughably awful artificial crowd that sports media force down our throats. The bending of the knee at every single game, for reasons most no longer understand, or want to understand. Players either out sick or out because they don’t know if they’re sick or not. It’s all a bit bonkers, really.
On that last point, I want to spend a few minutes pondering. After all, the SPL has come out all guns blazing, defiantly ordering that Premiership clubs could be forced to play with as few as 13 players available. At best it’s a touch harsh, that – at worst, it’s tinpot League stuff and an embarrassment as the country still struggles through a global pandemic.
You see, the SPL have to come out playing hardball now that they’ve found St Mirren won’t take their humbling situation, in which they lost 3 goalkeepers to COVID-19 but were still forced to play, quietly. Now it has to be shown that the rules are this strict, and stupid, for everyone.
For Rangers this provides a dilemma and, in my opinion, a wakeup call. Has there ever been a more important season than this one? I mean sure, there has and there will be, but winning the 55 this season is absolutely clinical. Stopping Celtic from having any bragging rights, no matter how hollow they may be, should reinforce that necessity.
Yet despite this, here we are with four first team players injured in just one match day. The depth of the squad hasn’t been exposed, not by any means, but that’s a ticking time bomb if ever I’ve seen one. A few injuries, typical of any encounter with a mob like Dundee United, are one thing, but throw Coronavirus into the mix and it’s a recipe for disaster.
The latest word is that Alfredo Morelos, despite being the victim of an absolute horror challenge on Saturday, could be fit enough to travel for our Europa League game on Thursday in Gibraltar. But that still leaves Brandon Barker, Ryan Jack and Leon Balogun with big question marks over their heads.
Here’s the rub: Rangers need to strengthen and they need to strengthen now. No more hand ringing over Preston’s Daniel Johnson, if Steven Gerrard wants him then go get him. The squad is one cough away from a massive drop in form in a season filled with so much hope and promise. Preston digging in their heels and demanding £4million is annoying, and it seems a lot, but not coming out on top this year will cost an awful lot more than that in the long run. In short, get it done.
With the Europa League ahead, and match-ups against both Hibs and Celtic looming, Rangers can’t afford the luxury of relying on the current squad to get the job done without reinforcement. Here’s hoping the lads stay fit, and those injured return soon, but no harm in preparing for the worst. Life has changed, but not all changes have to be bad, Rangers being top of the pile at the end of it all is change I’m more than happy to embrace.