Rangers win their 55th league title after Celtic drop points. We look back on a legendary year and consider whether it may actually be our best yet…
It’s like a dream, in many ways. I remember well going to Ibrox as a kid when Rangers were untouchable, everything just came up light blue – least of all the ol’ big ears, the title with our own ribbons on it 9 years on the trot. The squad then was a who’s who of Rangers lore, Laudrup, Goram, Gough, Gascoigne and of course, McCoist. Watching that team, and for many years after, I thought those days may never be topped in my estimations. I was wrong.
Today, today I’m happy to say, the Gers have surpassed my even most wildest dream and shattered the rose tinted glasses on which I viewed the glory days of old. We are the champions, it all seems so unreal even no matter how many times I say it. We won the league in the most stunning of ways and, honestly, can it be denied that this was our most important, and impressive, season yet?
A lot of competition there to be sure. Rangers poked ahead of younger brothers Linfield in the total titles race, now 55 to their 54, which means we are once again the most successful club in world football.
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Now, I wasn’t around for all those wins, I’m not that old contrary to what my wife may joke. Nonetheless, there’s never quite been a season, from what I can see, like this one. Sure, Celtic have been on the verge of completing “the 10”, that hallowed and fabled Scottish consecutive titles win record, twice in the past only to be stopped by the Gers – but never have the boys in blue had such obstacles to overcome to get there.
See, nobody thought this season was possible. Nobody. I include myself in that one too. We all anticipated a good run, Steven Gerrard has ensured continued growth year-on-year and there was a feeling we’d push the Hoops all the way. Never did anyone imagine we would absolute decimate them, winning the league at a canter of 20 points clear in the first week in March.
I don’t blame the likes of Fourfourtwo magazine proclaiming Celtic to win the 10 before the season even began. They certainly weren’t alone in that prediction and, ultimately, it makes sense from a neutral point of view. With a wage bill treble that of any other club in the country and seemingly unlimited resources even beyond, who could really stand up to Celtic?
Rangers’ financial woes, administration, battling up the lower leagues and years attempting to claw their way back in the Premiership all seem like a distant memory, but not a single green success story happened without the light blues having some mitigating circumstance. It simply was unfathomable that the Gers, still highly rumoured to be financially suspect, could mount a challenge so sustained that it would lift them above their Champions League pedigree neighbours.
When Stevie G took the reigns at the club, we weren’t even the second best in Scotland, fighting to only keep par with Aberdeen but both a country mile off first. Leaking goals left and right, Rangers managed to concede more in one season under Pedro Caixinha and Graeme Murty than the nearly three with Gerrard since. That’s wild, a statistic I often quote because it blows my mind and, obviously, stands testament to how much tangible improvement has been made.
Make no mistake, Gerrard deserves every plaudit, every praise, every cheer. He made the impossible possible, but such could not have happened had the board not backed him to a hilt. When Leeds United came knocking for Alfredo Morelos, Rangers knocked back and held to their guns – knowing how important he was, knowing how important this year was.
Now we’re champions and his value, indeed the squads value, has multiplied a hundred fold. Though the chips may well have been down, in a COVID year no less, the Gers stood firm and reaped the rewards. Now aren’t you glad they did? I know I am.
This is the one, this year. We stopped the 10 in a row, we got the world record of 55, we proved all the doubters and the naysayers wrong and we remain unbeaten and yet still in the Europa League. I’m writing all this just before the celebrations get started properly, if you know what I mean, but, no matter how much Scotch is consumed, today won’t be so easily forgotten – just like the glory days of Laudrup, Goram, Gough, Gascoigne and McCoist.