The question has become when, rather than if Rangers will win the Scottish Premiership this season. It’s quite a job Steven Gerrard has done so far…
Rangers march on, seeming to grow in strength as the team across town become more and more shambolic.
The 4-0 win over Ross County at the weekend put them 13 points clear of Celtic (admittedly having played twice more) and added to their cartoon numbers. They’re yet to be beaten, have scored 45 and conceded a mere three in their 16 games so far, all the while with their right-back as top-scorer.
“They just keep on winning,” said Andrew Slaven on The Totally Scottish Football Show this week. “Tavernier keeps on scoring. The 17 goals he scored two seasons ago, a club record for a defender: he could beat that before the turn of the year. It’s staggering the numbers Rangers are achieving this season.
“Could they finish the season unbeaten? It’s probable, isn’t it?”
It is, although JJ Bull reckoned fate/the sort of stupid stuff that the universe is wont to throw up could scupper them.
“I know what’s going to happen. They look unbeatable: they’ll go almost all the season, but they’ll lose one stupid game to someone, probably Hamilton. They’ll definitely beat Celtic, they’ll get rid of Aberdeen and Hibs no problem, even Motherwell. I think they’ll lose something stupid, but still win the league after about 30 games.
“You can’t get close to Rangers. They’ve just got it.”
JJ tried as best he could to come up with one way they could fail, but this is the best he could do:
“One worry might be that players like Tavernier has played a lot of football, and eventually that might catch up with them. If he got injured, and say Steven Davis and Connor Goldson got injured – you never know, that might be enough to give them a little weakness here and there.”
Ultimately though, they’re a juggernaut on their way to their first league title in a decade.
“We could use the same segment of our podcast week on week,” said Laura Brannan, “because it’s the same praise we give them every week. They’re untouchable at the minute: it’s goals galore, fantastic team spirit, everyone looks like they’re playing their best.
“Where are they going to drop points? Who’s going to be that one silly slip-up they have? Gerrard has got them so sussed out, they all know exactly what their gameplan is, I can’t see them crumbling at any stage.
“Historically, you don’t get a lot of time at Celtic and Rangers to come in and make a mark, because the psychology is instant success. But with Rangers in this case it was different: Gerrard came in and the fans accepted that “we don’t have to win the league right away, we’re comfortable with that, it might not be the most successful one or two seasons, but we want to see progress.”
“Because he’s had the time to settle on a team and his mentalities and philosophies, Rangers are reaping the rewards from it.”
JJ continued: “I think it takes about 18 months for a team to look like a manager wants them to, and a bit longer before they’re the final thing. Rangers have taken about the same amount of time as it took Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.
“They’ve added players slowly, they’ve got Michael Beale doing all the training ground work, moulding them how they’re supposed to look. They can take players in and out when they need to, to make sure they’re rested: Borna Barisic can be rested, who’s important to them in certain games, but Ross County, you know you’re going to pump them so you stick in Calvin Bassey and sure enough they’re absolutely fine.”
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