THAT the word “disappointed” was brought into play following last night’s 4-1 away win at St Johnstone tells quite a story of how far Rangers have come recently.
Yes, there was a 3-0 win at the same venue back in October, but traditionally, McDiarmid Park is one of the toughest away grounds in the league. To go there, be 3-0 up at half-time, score another after the break and then go back down the A9 and be disappointed?
Well, that is something to be admired.
Graeme Murty said in his post-match interview with RangersTV the players felt they had let their standards slip a little as the game progressed – these standards, remember, have taken the club on a terrific run since the turn of the year, winning eight out of nine games in all competitive competitions.
Standards too which now see the club six points ahead of Aberdeen in third and just six behind Celtic in first, albeit both will have a game in hand following weather related postponements of their matches this evening.
The fact too it was the team rather than Murty that the disappointment came from too tells a story of the collective belief and nature of players he has moulded into his own in these last few weeks and months.
If these highest of standards are to be found again when Gers take on Falkirk on Sunday and then again for the remainder of the season, then there is little doubt the club’s supporters are in for a very interesting end of the campaign indeed.
So, taking a look at the positive part of last night’s match, when the team would feel those “standards” had been met, and yet again, Rangers played some wonderful football.
Yes, the first goal came from the penalty spot, but what a ball it was from Sean Goss to release Alfredo Morelos in-behind the Saints defence before he was brought down for an obvious foul by goalkeeper Allan Mannus.
The second strike of the evening was surely the pick of the bunch though. Another quick-touch, one end to the other move started by goalkeeper Wes Foderingham ended with Greg Docherty picking out the most sumptuous pass for Josh Windass to split the home back-line before Windass, with the ball coming from behind him, produced a lethal, sublime finish to hand his side a cushion.
Without wanting to yet again labour the old “if Barcelona or Real Madrid did that..” cliché, this was football from the highest level.
How, firstly, Docherty spots Windass is a mystery given he is surrounded by a plethora of blue jerseys, but he did, and Windass made the perfect move to get on the end of the most perfect, defence-splitting ball from the new arrival.
RangersTV’s Hugh Burns last night described it as one of the best goals the team has scored this season – and he would appear not to be wrong in his assessment.
It got even better before the interval, as again, Sean Goss netted a stunning free-kick goal. His technique in taking such set-pieces is terrific – not going for power but rather sheer precision both in terms of the finishing position of the ball and his own strike, ensuring it has just enough and no more to clear the opposition wall and find the furthest corner of the net.
Goal number four, too, was a thing of beauty – James Tavernier yet again being the provider from one of his forward forays before, as he always seems to do, picking out the ideal ball for someone arriving in the middle.
This time it was Alfredo Morelos making a front-post run before deftly flicking the ball with his head beyond Mannus.
The one criticism, if it can even be labelled as strongly as that to come from the weekend win over Hearts was over some profligacy in front of goal – well the players provided a strong retort to any questions over their finishing with some deadly play in advanced areas.
Now to bring another word into play – “momentum” – and ahead of Rangers’ cup quarter-final with Falkirk on Sunday, they most certainly have that.