Rangers ‘still waiting’ for the Steven Gerrard revolution to really take off
So that's it then. Rangers' long, unglamorous, often dour, occasionally thrilling European adventure came to a limp end on Thursday, beaten 1-0 by Rapid Vienna.
It seems a half-a-lifetime since that first round qualifier against FK Shkupi, the fourth (fourth!) best side in Macedonian football. And the question for Steven Gerrard to ponder, five months later, is – was it worth it?
If nothing else, it was an interrailing itinerary to die for. A pilgrimage that took them (among other European reaches) to industrial Russia, Slovenia, Croatia and Vienna, topped off with a brief rendezvous in sunny Villarreal.
And while the debate over whether Rangers over or under-achieved in Europe will rumble on, fans and players alike might just be relieved of the opportunity to sharpen their focus on the SPL, and narrowing that gap on Celtic.
Here's what Rangers fans have been saying on fan forum The Bear Pit:
We were in Pot 4 for the group stage draw for a reason. I would say we deserved to finish second in the group and with a bit of luck we would have. Disappointing to miss out but we can take some heart from our efforts. (coop1872)
The European adventure HAS been a great one. I’d love to know if any other team playing a 1st round qualifier has ever taken it to a 14th tie before being knocked out? (lutonloyal)
We are all feeling a bit down just now but before a ball was kicked, in the 1st Qualifying Round, if anyone had said we will still be in with a shout in the last game in the Group matches we would have bitten their hand off. (Dumfriesbear)
Lots of positivity from the fans, but I can't help but be disappointed by Thursday's result, more in our utter failure to have a go from the off. We're still waiting, I think, for the REAL Gerrard Revolution to take off. (Rangerista)
Thursday shows that the quality of the team is still not at a great standard. Rapid were there for the taking but we just couldn’t create good chances. We need a forceful midfielder to drive us forward, and we have to learn to shoot from outside the box. (Bluenosedoug)
Ryan Jack is our best player by a country mile. Always composed on the ball, makes himself available to receive it, even when under pressure. Didn't deserve to be on the losing team tonight. Got another joke of a booking as well. (Graeme's dad)
Find out what fans of your club have been saying this week below:
Hoping Derby sign another left-back (preferably on a permanent deal) in January so we can keep Lowe. As I've said before, if McKenna is sold in the window, we should offer Derby £500k-£750k to get Lowe in permanently. No idea if they'd bite or indeed if he would sign anyway but the question should be asked at the very least. Ten Caat (AFC Chat)
It's a massive achievement getting out this group. Not sure if there was a poll done when it was drawn but I know most fans didn't give us a sniff at qualifying above Leipzig and Salzburg. Two really good, cash-rich sides, and we've competed excellently – including finishing ahead of a top 6 Bundesliga team. McGuire (Talk Celtic)
Would love to see Lambert become a regular. I'm a bit of a sentimentalist when it comes to home-grown talent. Jack has great potential from what I've seen of him. This season could be his time to shine. Of course, being in a relegation battle means we don't have much room for error so that's the only thing that might limit opportunities. Cobra (The Dark Blues)
I’m going to be positive and reckon Rangers will suffer a wee Europa league hangover. They’ve been a bit shaky last couple of games, and with players possibly having only one eye on this game after Thursday, this could be the best time to play them all season. I'm going 1-0 Accies with our only shot on target… Big Wurzil (Accies World)
What a pleasure it is to have Djoum back to full fitness. He's been our best player by far since Naismith got injured. And he's surely one of the best midfielder's in the division. Another fantastic performance against Motherwell. He's been the victim of his own talent, being shoehorned into every position under the sun. Clearly most effective in the centre of the park. Miko (Jambos Kickback)
Lennon seems to like a three at the back against the better teams. I think that's dangerous against Celtic who will almost certainly play three in midfield. We need to match them or risk losing the battle in the centre of the park. I'd play Hyndman, Slivka and Mallan in there. J-C (hibs.net)
One game. 3 points. That’s the mentality to recover from last weekend. It was a perfect storm – they played well and for once, we fell below the standards we’ve set ourselves. There's no need to give in just yet. 3 wins and a draw in our next 4 is achievable before the break. That would keep us in the top 3. Let’s keep up the positivity. It’s a season of a lifetime and this team won’t fold. Thebigguy68 (Killie's Kickback)
Referee was the difference in the end last weekend. Two wrong decisions to give them the goal, otherwise I think we'd have held firm for the draw. Good effort from the players though. The main problem at the moment is the fixture schedule is killing us. We can't afford to put out our best team every week so we constantly have key players resting on the bench. orco (The Livi Room)
My current view of Robinson is that I really don't know where I stand with him. Just when I think his time is up, we'll come up with an Aberdeen or Celtic result but then just as quickly we follow up with missed opportunities. And just when I think there is a considered plan about introducing youngsters, I get the feeling that actually he's not all that convinced about our youths. Andy_P (Steelmen Online)
What a great performance last Saturday – it makes you proud to be from Perth. One of the things I miss about going to the big away games is the sense of camaraderie when we win. The joy of celebrating with the team especially when the odds are against you makes it special, especially when the boys come over to salute the fans at full time. SaintJet (We Are Perth)
Heavy snow forecast at the weekend. But apparently the snow won't become heavy until 2pm, so it'll be a typical SPFL cock-up. Either called off at 2.45, or they'll start the game and then abandon it – but only after Willie Collum has spent 20 minutes deciding who has built the best snowman. Hendo (Black & White Army)
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