Money and experience makes the difference
In the title run-in, you could do with a bit of luck and Hearts keeper Jamie McDonald gave Rangers that edge when he made an absolute hash of Nikica Jelavic’s opener. The £4m striker has been central to Rangers during the run-in and this signing can claim to have been the one that likely sees the Ibrox side over the line.
The Rangers squad is the most expensively assembled team in the SPL and the Ibrox side spent a considerable amount of money over the course of this season but Jelavic’s capture looks to have been repaid with the likely League and League Cup double. After all, it was the striker that grabbed the extra-time winner in the League Cup final.
In the end, the experience of the Rangers management team and squad has gone a long way to securing silverware, as many expected. Many Rangers fans felt it would be a much easier season than has actually transpired, predicting that the inexperienced and hastily assembled challenge from Celtic would implode long before the run-in but in the end, Rangers could be champions by midweek.
There was a lot of leniency shown towards the home side by Ian Brines, who has managed to show a consistency in his performances that players could only dream of. It’s not as though he was biased towards Rangers, although the Ibrox side did benefit from Weir, Bougherra, Laugherty and Jelavic all avoiding early bookings, Brines is just an abysmal referee – as he also showed at Celtic Park last weekend by not booking Beram Kayal for a clear bookable offence. It can only be hoped that Brines is better in his day job as a Strathclyde policeman otherwise there will be plenty of criminals getting away scot free.
In the second half, the Jambos will point to the fact that the sending off issued to serial red card receiver Jonsson was slightly harsh, especially with the first half leniency but yet again, Brines has shown himself to be a terrible referee.
Rangers also got a break in their second goal when Steven Naismith was clearly offside in the build-up to the Kyle Lafferty’s goal but with Steven Davis, completely unmarked, making it 3-0 before half-time, the home fans were able to get the party started before lunch-time. A late own goal added the icing on the cake as Rangers once again went on the goal rampage in a post-split fixture.
Hearts will be keeping an eye and an ear on the Dundee United v Motherwell score but even if the Arabs do their work, the Jambos will be fired up at home on Wednesday to get the final point they need.
As for Rangers, depending on tomorrow’s scoreline at Rugby Park, they could get the opportunity to claim the title on Tuesday versus Dundee United in Walter Smith’s final match at Ibrox but regardless of that happening…the Rangers fans will just be counting down the days until they clinch their 3rd title in a row.