Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Enter the Twilight Red Zone

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The Highland Bear
Unashamedly watching the world through Blue tinted specs. Contributor to The 4th Official.

The Champions entertain bottom of the table Ross County this weekend before the international break (it feels like there was one only last week). Undoubtedly our Red top friends will need clickbait to whip up faux outrage and keep their irrelevance limping along on life support for another week or two. They haven’t disappointed. The broken Record now pointing out how Rangers are in “away fan snub” as they “pull ticket allocation.”

Once again, it’s a snide attempt to paint Rangers in a bad light. Ross County want a red zone, maybe understandably after the COVID related postponement of their game vs Hibernian. Rangers can accommodate a red zone if they move fans who have already paid upfront elsewhere. Ross County accept. Rangers accept. End of story. Or so you would think.

The narrative is already being ramped up ahead of the game on January 2nd at Celtic Park. Again let’s look at it logically. Red zone was government implemented at the game at Ibrox. Season ticket holders are moved. No away fans – as Celtic did with several other teams. Again all normal.

The difference now is the red zone is no longer legally enforceable. A catch 22 for our friends across the City. If this were any other game, Rangers would have an away allocation. Celtic will want to appease their support with a shut out to even the score. And let’s be honest,  if the roles were reversed? Rangers fans would be screaming for the exact same thing with Celtic fans demanding SPFL action for tickets. See how this works? It’s utter tribalism based on your allegiance. Nothing more to it.

It was also disappointing once again to see our old foes in Prague facing accusations of racism. Predictably they doubled down, once again accepting no responsibility whatsoever. And who could blame them? UEFA and their pathetic disciplinary system that takes a harder stance on branded boxer shorts than racially abusing a fellow human being on the field of play. UEFA and their spineless, pathetic organisation are part of the problem. It won’t go away until we see real action. Don’t bother closing stadiums. Ban them. If they repeat, ban their association. I say this as a Rangers fan that if we behave in the same manner, we accept the same punishment.

Listen to our Captain. Listen to Marvin Bartley. Listen to the sickening abuse they have had to suffer. They should have our unequivocal support.

The next round of fixtures are crucial for our club. Trips to Easter Road, Pittodrie, Tynecastle and Celtic Park await. Before Sunday, I wouldn’t have been at my most confident. Now it all hinges on Brondby and Ross County.

Motherwell was the result we knew what this set of players were capable of. You don’t have an unbeaten season if you are a poor side. Maybe I’m guilty of holding them to that phenomenal standard that they set last season. At Rangers, we demand perfection; it’s really as simple as that.

January is vital; the squad needs a reboot, even if only a couple of loan additions. Freshen up a side that has gone stale and grab that £40m Champions League bounty. January is the most crucial window for us in the last decade. I have the belief Ross Wilson will deliver.

On a positive note, how exciting could it be to have the pace of Sakala and Ryan Kent on either wing?

Our Zambian friend is capturing hearts with his positive outlook as well as capturing minds with his song that you cannot shift! Hopefully, he can kick on now and provide the spark we have lacked up top.

As I said before, the only side capable of stopping this side is ourselves. We cannot allow complacency or arrogance to creep in. For all the comedy moments Celtic have provided thus far, they are still churning out impressive results at Fir Park, Easter Road and Pittodrie. I expect them to stay on our tail until January the 2nd.

Let’s get the job done on Thursday night in Denmark. Let’s head into the international break minimum of 4 points clear and get this side on a run.

No doubt over the coming weeks, there will be statisticians pouring over every shirt pull we have had since 1994, former Chief execs reminding the head of the SFA who put him there, ex-players screaming for strong refereeing and likely trial by sportscene as the end of the year approaches to attempt to prise the compliance officer out of hibernation.

Ask yourself an honest question. Where was all the outrage before Rangers won the title? For nine seasons, referees all of a sudden became miracle workers. The compliance officer was the greatest addition ever.

We all know the answer and why.

As we say our final goodbyes to the man who was undoubtedly the father of Glasgow Rangers for so many of us, I hope we can look at the classy and dignified way he conducted himself in life. Learn from him. Aspire to be better. As always, stay humble and stay safe.

Editorial Note: I have a favour to ask you. Did you know this article was published first on our exclusive Patreon page? If you love Scottish football while sick and tired of the same old biased MSM coverage, this is for you. The 4th Official needs your support. Due to the unprecedented situation as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic, the digital media space has been completely devastated. There has been a massive shortfall in revenue (even while viewership is up) as we scramble how to make sure that we go on with our daily job. We are proud to put up exclusive stuff on Scottish football as well as an early release of our podcast interviews with relevant personalities of the game (recent guests have been David Martindale, Matt Polster, Greg Docherty, Daniel Stendel & a lot more) on our Patreon account and hope you would support us in these tough times. We have supporters from at least 11 countries, and you can be too by chipping in just £2.99/month (or become an annual supporter). Become a proud Patron of The 4th Official!

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