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The Ibrox Fan’s Pain Today Is So Extreme We Have To Remind Ourselves It’s Real.

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Most European defeats come with a bit of a hangover, but whilst there’s hope there’s generally not such a major outpouring of teeth-gnashing and wailing. A second leg offers all involved the chance to put things right, after all. But the inquest going on today across the city after last night’s defeat in Belgium has swept past precedent away.

The anger is real and its raw and we have to remind ourselves of those things. It looks so exaggerated, like a child having a temper tantrum. But in the mind of that kid there is legitimate grievance and a good reason to be upset.

They really did believe that getting to Seville meant that they were a top European team. I have been worried, since they reached that final, about the pressure their getting there was going to put on us, by people who should know better. Maybe I should have been considering, instead, the pressure it was putting on everyone at Ibrox.

Everyone knows I’ve looked at that run of theirs inside out and not been impressed by it. The wins over the two German teams look impressive until you consider that the team who finally ended the run for them finished 14th in the league over there.

That aside, the hard numbers remain; seven wins in twenty-one games.

It baffles me how anyone thinks it’s something on which to base wildly optimistic fantasies of taking the Champions League by storm. Yet those fantasies existed. They were real. And this evening the folly of them is being confronted by a shell-shocked support.

Even the media is reacting like this is an epochal disaster. Read Keith Jackson for a hilarious example. He and his editors are so flummoxed that they’ve mis-used the word “retrograde” in their headline, a word none of them would ever have heard far less used but for its occasional appearance on this blog. (Oh yes, Keith, I know you’re there. This isn’t the first word outside of your education and range which started here and turned up in your columns.)

The paragraph in which it appears is worth quoting in full, as is the one after it. Read this and be aware that, as I said, this is pain and anger and frustration and it’s all real.

“Not every team can make such a mystifying, retrograde transition in such a short space of time. But Rangers managed it last night when they hit rock bottom in a one-horse outpost on the outskirts of Brussels, two months after storming all the way to the shoulder of immortality in Seville like some force of football nature.

“If they thought they could rest on their laurels on the back of last season’s rampaging run across the continent in the Europa League, then now they know different. They face the minnows of Union Saint-Gilloise back at Ibrox next week in serious danger of disgracing themselves, not to mention costing their club a winning ticket for the Euro millions.”

That’s hysterical. It’s filled with hyperbolic bullshit.

They weren’t a “force of football nature” last season in Europe for God’s sake. Seven wins. Twenty-one games. I’ll keep saying it until people acknowledge what it means. They weren’t on a “rampaging run across the continent.” They carried mind-bending luck at times, benefited from some tight VAR decisions and got the right draws.

Jackson’s pain is so acute you can taste it. His match report is written in a tone of “I don’t quite know what it is that I just witnessed.”

He talks about the teams exiting the Champions League before the groups as “Euro-trash”, an idiotic comment from someone too lost in his own agony to think straight, and of course he’s not the only one struggling to deal with this.

I think they are out.

I think that even if they do manage to find a way through that whichever of Monaco or PSV gets through will beat them comfortably.

Ibrox’s giant European ego bubble was a certainty to burst because when you let expectations soar that high, when you get lost in your own delusions of grandeur and start thinking the only way is up … well you’re just begging for a very painful wake-up call, and they got that last night.

But it was coming anyway, in spite of their failure to imagine it.

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  • Nick66 says:

    Reality is a hard pill to swallow. We have had our fair share of them. However I believe that our attitude was more pragmatic. We knew who held us back, who hamstrung the Manager. They blame the Coaching staff, the players but never the Board. They can turn it around at Ipox, but whoever comes next will see them off. Thing is, lose on Tuesday, EUROPA is their comp, what’s the chances that they can win it, cause they nearly won the second best, then the third best must be a shoe in.

  • John Fitzpatrick says:

    If Killie take points of them on Saturday and the rangers go out of the CL on Tuesday.
    Do you think the fans would want GVB head? Of course the answer is an astounding yes, but could the rangers afford to sack him? Of course is an astounding no..

  • SSMPM says:

    I’ve enjoyed reading every blog and article over the last day or so and have taken great pleasure in their ‘bog standard’ fans in defeat. I do know though that the tie isn’t over and in Europe their luck, as you say, could be in their favour again next Tuesday, might not, hope not

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