Rangers need a win against Partick Thistle this afternoon to avoid the sort of start to a season the Ibrox side have only endured twice in the past three decades. With a mere two victories in their first seven games, full-point successes have proved as hard to come by as they did only in 1993-94 and 1989-90.
Those of a Rangers disposition may draw comfort from the fact that each of those seasons ended up as championship-winning campaigns. However, in a nutshell, that was a consequence of there not being a six-in-a-row chasing title holder capable of churning out emphatic victories most weeks in the manner of Brendan Rodgers’ present-day Celtic.
Rangers defender Danny Wilson refuses to give up hope of a title chase in the face of fast-diminishing odds for his seventh-placed side. “Obviously you look at it just now and we’re not in a great position and everything would point towards favouring Celtic,” he said.
“But it’s very early, we’ve got a lot of games left and no doubt they will drop points and no doubt we’ll drop points over the course of the season. There’s a long way to go. If you look at the game on Sunday [at Aberdeen], had we won it we’d have been second but as it happens we lost it and we’re down to seventh. It’s just the way it is, it’s very tight there just now but hopefully we get some more points on the board and a couple of months down the line we’ll be breathing down their necks.”
The problem for Mark Warburton, pictured, is that signs of progress in performances are being choked by the bottom lines that Rangers are scoring too few goals and losing too many goals.
“At Pittodrie we came in at half-time thinking we’d done fairly well; I’ve played there for Hearts and Rangers and that was probably the most possession we’ve had of any of the times I’d been up there and being so comfortable in the game. On the flipside you then go out and are a goal behind a minute later,” the 24-year-old said.
“I’ve heard the manager’s thoughts on it and there are parts I agree with. The performance was in the main positive but we are in a results-driven business and the result wasn’t what we hoped for. He said afterwards – and I agree with him – that we were disappointed to be drawing and we were even more disappointed when we came down the road with no points. There’s things we can build on definitely but the most important thing will always be at this club the results and right now we’re not getting them.”
Yet, Wilson maintains results should not prompt a rethink by Warburton.
“People say ‘why don’t you do this’ or ‘why don’t you do that’ in terms of staying more solid,” he said. “We’ve looked at things that can try and help us. But we believe we’re a team best suited to getting the ball down, moving it quickly and getting on the attack. We play with attacking intent.
“Of course we are always looking at ways to stop conceding goals and areas where we can be more solid, but we’re not just going to change our entire style of play. We need to find that balance of being more solid yet still being able to play in our attacking way.
“The results haven’t been great this year, there is no getting away from that. But in games there are long periods where we’ve had complete control. We have switched off at times and we’ve lost a silly goal, that’s where we need to improve. Just look at Aberdeen last week. They didn’t come out and try to attack us. They sat in and looked to hit us on the counter attack. Our strength is going forward and we don’t want to lose that — the full-backs will join in the attack and we don’t want to change that.”
Meanwhile, the SPFL announced yesterday that following a request by both host club Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Rangers, kick-off for their Christmas Eve encounter in the Highlands will be brought forward from 3pm to 12:30pm.