Going into their match on Sunday, Rangers were presented an unlikely chance to close the gap to Celtic after their rivals dropped points late the day before against before.
Faced with a trip to Pittodrie and having been in good form before the international break, you’d have thought Philippe Clement’s improved side would have grasped this chance with both hands.
However, not only did they face a side in Aberdeen who seem to only turn up for four games a season, but they also failed to turn up for almost 90 minutes.
Had it not been for a late penalty from James Tavernier, Rangers would have ended up losing ground in the title race as opposed to putting them within one win of top spot.
Truth be told, despite dominating the ball for large portions of the match, it all felt very much like Beale or Gio ball.
The phrase ‘We could be playing all day and not score’ is one used too often in football, especially when it comes to this group of players.
Not for the first time in recent years have Rangers been given the chance to get one over on their closest rivals, and have failed to take advantage of it.
With four managers seeing this same issue all too often, you increasingly start to point fingers at those wearing the blue jersey, as opposed to the man coaching them.
Sunday saw Rangers line up with a back line of Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Leon Balogun and Borna Barisic – the same four men who played here in the season opener of the 2020/21 season.
A lack of freshness in that area of the pitch has left far too much scar tissue from the failures of recent years. In Goldson, you begin to see why he never wanted to get injured, as he’s looked a shadow of a player since his spell on the treatment table last campaign.
You have a left back in Barisic who shows little ambition, other than that of blind stupidity when he tries to do things like shot from 30 yards on his right foot that’s never on. Look up one trick pony in the dictionary and you might see a picture of the Croatian in there.
Even the players who have started well under Clement, like John Lundstram, looked to have taken some massive steps backwards. When you look at the Englishman at Aberdeen vs the games before the break, the only glaring difference was no Ryan Jack next to him, and when you think back to his golden run leading the midfield charge to Seville, it was that same central two which makes you question if they only work together as a pair.
Finally, as the team chased a leveller late on, Clement was reluctant to call upon Cyriel Dessers from the bench, which screams out that perhaps he doesn’t trust the options he inherited from Beale’s summer spending spree as much as he claims at times.
Yes, there was some positives in the display, such as the bright return of Rabbi Matondo, but it definitely appears as though the new boss really isn’t Harry Potter.
The improvement from September is still clear to see, but it looks as though it will be a case of getting this squad to January as close to Celtic as possible, and allow Clement to mould this group fully into his image/