It’s been fairly quiet of late down Edmiston Drive. Well, relatively quiet at least. Away from ongoing legal battles surrounding Craig Whyte, Charles Green and friends (which I won’t be touching with a bargepole) there has been a real sense of normality amongst many Rangers fans I’ve spoken to.
Yes, we’re still in the second tier of Scottish Football and, yes, we have the Petrofac Cup to play for instead of the European Cup, but most things Rangers are back to a familiar setting. There’s a winning team on the park, Ibrox is near capacity every other Saturday and, most importantly, the rest of Scottish football are sitting up and taking notice of the work done by Mark Warburton and Davie Weir at Ibrox.
After the first quarter of the Championship campaign, Rangers are nine points clear of nearest challengers Raith, while Hibs sit a point further back having played one game less. Nine games and nine wins is a fantastic start for any side and has, rightly, seen Warburton win two successive Manager of the Month awards. Despite the defeat to St. Johnstone, there’s still much more to come from this side. This is a group of players who have only played just over a dozen games together so far, including some boys who’ve made a handful of senior appearances between them. With the right additions there could be a solid core of players there for many years to come.
Thanks to the international break there has not been a game in a little while, so the players and coaches had a little bit of time off last week. Now I have a small gripe here. Some may find it a bit petty, but hear me out. Now, I don’t for a minute grudge the players having time off during a break like this. It makes perfect sense really. It gives them a chance to relax and recharge their batteries for the upcoming run of games. What I’m not so big a fan of is players jetting halfway around the world for a holiday in Dubai. As I said, have a break and have a few days in the sun, but is spending ten hours in a plane (each way) really wise?
Another wee observation I’ve made. I think it’s universally accepted that the pathway for young players to the first team is more open than it’s been in a long, long time. With that in mind, I was quite surprised when I noticed that Mark Warburton hadn’t given a single homegrown young player a debut yet.
Now that’s off my chest, a few weeks ago I mentioned a friend of mine who made his first trip to Ibrox. Well, tomorrow (Thursday) is my birthday and is also 21 years since my first trip to Ibrox to see Rangers play. We beat Kilmarnock 2-0 with Charlie Miller being the first Rangers player I watched score in the flesh; After a quick bit of Googling it turns out that it was Charlie’s first Rangers goal. Davie Robertson added a second with a few minutes to spare to send an eight-year-old boy home happy. I can still remember walking out into the stadium for the first time and being absolutely mesmerised by the size of the place. The noise when the teams finally emerged from the tunnel was enough to almost deafen me but when Rangers finally broke the deadlock, the roof was almost lifted off the stands.
The funny thing is… 21 years later I still get the exact same feelings every time.