Despite Rangers historic march towards their 55th league title, some would try to minimise our accomplishments by moving the goal posts of success…
I’ve made it something of a habit of not reading football editorials. I know this is ironic, since you’re currently reading one, but there’s a few good reasons for it. First of all, I don’t want someone else’s opinions to influence my own, second of all, and perhaps more crucially, most of the editorials out there these days are absolute twaddle.
Today, I broke my oath and glanced across the Daily Record at what pundits, ostensibly stealing a living by churning out nonsense, would have to say as Rangers moved 3 more points and 1 more game closer to the record 55th League title. It would be positive, you’d think, right? The light blues overcame stiff resistance from St Johnstone at Ibrox last night and, while it was hardly a classic, the 1-0 scoreline still flattered the visitors.
Further, the Gers moved to a mere 6 more wins away from the title, a feat made all the more remarkable by the fact they have yet to be beaten and have shipped only one, yes one, goal at home this season.
So you’d have to say, in retrospect, it should be fairly safe to lap up some of the expected and deserved praise from supposedly more impartial sources, yeah? Alas, it was not to be. To my horror, the aforementioned tabloid published an editorial essentially claiming Rangers will be disappointed in Steven Gerrard on the whole and that the fans should be too. Obviously the fans love Gerrard, but, according to the author, we should be viewing his overall tenure as underwhelming.
Yes, you read that right. I couldn’t believe it either and it doesn’t deserve your clicks, let alone your time, so I’ll not be linking it – but here’s my thoughts about this objectively bad take:
The claim is made that Stevie G came in 2018 and will, by mid-2021, have won only one trophy. For a start, that ignores the fact we are still in the Europa League and, indeed, flying the flag for Scotland in the competition. Nonetheless, should that prophecy come to fulfilment and Rangers exit, stage right, at some point in the future, it would not be any more disappointing at all. Not in the slightest.
When Gerrard came in, Rangers were shipping goals left, right and centre. In only one season under Pedro Caixinha and Graeme Murty, the light blues leaked more goals than the following three years under Gerrard combined. That’s a staggering difference and cannot, solely, be put down to new signings alone.
Aye, Rangers came up from Division One and a few seasons later were the “team in second” or “best of the rest”. The author clearly looked at this, noted that this was also the case for a few seasons under Stevie, then based an article almost entirely around this premise. However the gulf was absolutely massive and undeniably different, there’s absolutely no comparison between the Rangers of 2017 and 2018, or 2019. We may still have remained the “best of the rest”, but improvement and gains were being made all along. All thanks, without question, to Gerrard.
Ultimately though, where this article really falls short, is the expectation that anyone worth their weight in salt actually cares about not winning trophies before this season. Sure, at the time it was upsetting, but the past is the past. Will we look back at Steven’s tenure with a negative impression in years to come? Almost certainly not. Not only is he guiding us towards the title, which many considered impossible, he’s doing so at the right time – not for the pundits, but for the Rangers.
And there’s the rub. Maybe objectively, for some, more could have been done and achieved in previous campaigns. Losing to Hearts in the Scottish Cup and Hamilton in the League within 5 days last March, just before the SPFL decided to gift the title to Celtic, was certainly a low point for fans and manager alike. To onlookers, moments like that are just mere bulletpoints. For us Bears, it’s the lows that make the highs even sweeter. Not even one year on and Gerrard has turned everything around. The difficult times don’t make him less likely to be remembered favourably, only moreso as they show he fought and earned his right to be a Rangers legend.
In the end, I have no doubt Stevie G is getting a statue. The man absolutely deserves every plaudit that has come his way and all those yet to come, I’ll be throwing a few more of my own his way when the 55 comes home. His legacy will always stand at Ibrox, while trash articles seeking to minimise our accomplishments will be lost in the sands of time. I guess that’s one more reason not to read editorials – except mine of course.