I sat and watched the rather turgid and smothersome game between Rangers and Sporting Lisbon this evening. It is little wonder that it ended as a goalless draw as neither side was very inventive or determined to win. Rather, both sides looked determined not to lose and as a result the game pretty much sucked. It would have been more exciting to watch a game played in a muddy field with jumpers for goalposts.
Of course what really bothers me is that this Rangers side are doing so well this season, with one trophy under their belt in the form of the CIS Cup, a 6 point lead over Celtic in the SPL, and a Scottish Cup quarter final replay on the horizon. Alarmingly, that means they are on for the treble. The prospect of them progressing all the way to the Uefa Cup final still exists despite their lacklustre performance tonight. In fact, make that their lacklustre season!
I’ve watched all their European games this season and not one has been impressive – despite some good results. The domestic games I’ve seen have been no better. How on earth did they manage to beat Celtic last weekend?!? A combination of Celtic’s recent lack of form and some sharp management by Walter Smith who has certainly steadied the rocking Ibrox ship. His talent as a manager is clear for all to see as he has moulded some dross sprinkled with sporadic ability into a team who are very difficult to beat. Is it a team who can win the SPL and the Scottish Cup? I remain unconvinced, especially as there are still 2 Old Firm games at Celtic Park to come and it is not yet too late for the Bhoys to get their act together. Rangers also have a tricky match against the very much in form Dundee United to negotiate this weekend.
Now I wonder what impact the return of Neil Lennon as a member of Celtic’s coaching staff will have on the remainder of the season? Let’s hope his fiery character injects enough of a spark to turn things around!