As one door closes…
The Petrofac cup is not the most prestigious trophy to be won by Rangers, though it has certainly been the most irritating. Failure to win it in the past few seasons has been nothing short of embarrassing to the extent that a minor trophy had taken on a significance which it scarcely merits. However, all that was put to bed on Sunday as Rangers finally lifted the trophy with a relatively convincing and largely one sided contest against Peterhead on a playing surface that’s a disgrace to the Scottish football authorities and the National Stadium.
This trophy becomes a footnote in Rangers history and with promotion from the Championship emphatically secured, two trophies in one week is a fitting bookend to Rangers travels through the lower divisions. However, competing in the Championship or the Petrofac cup is not something that Rangers fans should wish Rangers to be involved in again and this chapter in Rangers long history must be resoundingly closed behind us as we move on to bigger and better things.
As the luck of the draw would have it, bigger and better things await just around the corner in the shape of the latest Old Firm Scottish Cup Semi Final, with Sky Sports recent visit to Auchenhowie providing an excellent advert for Rangers as part of the build up to this match. Unlike the last one sided, embarrassing affair, this match up promises to deliver a far more even and entertaining contest, though the recent injury to Forrester combined with the long term injury to Waghorn and the fact that King and O’Halloran are cup tied has left Rangers extremely thin on attacking options. The timing of Forresters injury could not have been worse as the player had found fitness and form at crucial time of the season, culminating in him signing a new 3 year deal.
However, this is no time for self-pity and it’s worth noting that four of the last five goals scored against top tier opposition in the shape of Kilmarnock and Dundee came from Holt, Wallace, Halliday and Clark, all of whom are almost definite starters against Celtic. Combine this with Mark Warburtons statement that he will not be compromising Rangers style of play simply because of the opposition and James Taverniers goal scoring resurgence, then there is no doubt Rangers still possess an attacking threat and still have goals in their locker. The concern for many is whether Rangers can defend well enough to keep the opposition at bay. Again, though, harking back to the same games against Premiership opposition, the Rangers defence did not concede a single goal in those three games. Let us all hope for a similarly diligent display on Sunday.
Regardless of the way the match goes, this game will not define Rangers season. It has already been a resounding success in so many ways both on and off the park and one poor result - even against our oldest foes - should not detract from that. However, it would be fruitless to deny desperately wanting to win this match for any number of reasons, though it shouldn’t be forgotten in all the build-up hullabaloo that with victory would come a Cup Final and a potential doorway back to European football with entry to the Europa League.
All it needs is this Rangers team to step through.