Rangers 2-0 win over Livingston yesterday may not have been the most thrilling match this season, but it was just what the doctor ordered…
In a bubble, this wasn’t the best performance or result in Rangers illustrious history. Heck, it wasn’t the best performance or result in the last week. You look at the opponents, the scoreline, the chances on both ends and you think, meh. It’s easy to look at things that way, especially when you’ve got the attention span of a goldfish, as some of our green-wearing neighbours are famed.
But football? Football doesn’t work like that. It’s about the whole picture, the overall tapestry that makes a season. Arsenal in the Invincibles season had 12 draws, many of them absolutely, objectively poor. I’m sure they had plenty that could have gone either way as well. Does anyone remember that? No, history records the Invincibles part and leaves out scraping a draw to Portsmouth, with a retaken penalty, at home.
In any case, this wasn’t a bad game or anything. In fact, it wasn’t even really a meh game, it had a little bit of everything and there wasn’t a single Rangers player that underperformed, for a change. The lineup changed and our depth was tested, yet the results remained much the same as they were before – 3 points, a clean sheet, Rangers top of the table, most goals scored, least goals conceded.
I suppose scoring wonder goals is now another established Light Blues 2020 hallmark. Though a far cry from “the best goal we’ve ever seen” by Kemar Roofe, but still absolutely class, Jermain Defoe netted his 300th career goal in style. Now consider this, Defoe is essentially our fourth choice striker – a testament to the incredible depth our squad has developed and a good sign for consistency down the road.
In any case, it wasn’t really about the game at all, was it? Three precious points against a team that we toiled to a 0-0 draw, earlier in the season, against because they parked the bus inside their own box and wouldn’t leave. Oh and time wasted of course. The former was still there but there was much less the latter, quite unsurprisingly.
Still, those three points come with the realisation that Celtic dropped two more on the same day, leaving the Gers 6 points clear of their floundering rivals. It would be unfair, and unprofessional, to have a pop at the Hoops for having their third straight game without a win and yet another Shane Duffy implosion. I’m not going to even mention it once.
We had speculated before about Celtic’s poor performances, if not poor results, this season. Playing badly but still finding a way to win is, stereotypically, a sign of champions. It’s not all luck either, there’s that grit and determination, that fight till the end mentality, required as well. This last week, however, has seen Rangers pull ahead both domestically and in Europe – the quality has spoken and finally performances and results are starting to align.
Of course it’s up to the Gers to make this last a full season, but as we said seeing players like Calvin Bassey take over the reigns from Borna Barisic, or reintegrating players like Joe Aribo and Defoe, shows that Steven Gerrard has an absolute wealth of options at his disposal. The 55 seems far away and yet it’s very much now in Rangers hands to grab it. There will be bumps along the way, but, much like the Invincibles, history will only show the winners – and hey, aren’t we still invincible too? Food for thought.