RANGERS aren’t going to turnaround the 3-1 first-leg pre-apocalypse defeat to Bayer Leverkusen. 

And if they do, which they won’t, they would have no chance of winning the Europa League.  

Neither of these points are surprising. But more importantly, Europe isn’t something which should concern anybody at that football club. Not now. Not this season. 

In Germany this evening, Steven Gerrard should play his second team with perhaps one or two others who could do with some game-time, with the express instruction to treat this game as a friendly. 

No daft tackles. In fact, nothing daft at all. This second leg should all be about getting some fitness into players, everyone returning to Scotland on the plane healthy and if that means Leverkusen scoring a few goals, which they are highly capable of, then so be it. 

This next ten months is all about stopping Celtic winning ten in a row and to do that, Gerrard cannot afford to lose anyone in the first week of August. Not when Jermaine Defoe is already sidelined.  

The Rangers manager is a sensible man and therefore one imagines he pays no attention to social media. However, had he dipped into the various platforms on Saturday after his side beat Aberdeen, the Englishman would have been under no illusions what his supporters are thinking. 

There were a few who were of the opinion the league would have been over had Rangers not taken all three points at Pittodrie. That’s daft, of course, but what it showed was the strong feeling which exists about what their old pals could achieve. 

Nothing else matters. Not Europe, either this week or later in the season, or even the cups.  

Should Gerrard win a trophy, it would be celebrated like few others among Rangers fans. But a League Cup triumph would count for little if Scott Brown gets to raise the Premiership trophy for the tenth year in a row. 

Charlie Nicholas made a good point when he said Rangers weren’t even the second-best team in Scotland when Gerrard was appointed. But I disagree with the former Celtic man when he claimed his old team would be given a close run for their title. 

I just don’t see who that can be said as things stand. 

Celtic are a far better side. They have a bigger squad. Apart from Brown, the players are all at their peak or are about to hit the years when most do enjoy their best times. A few signings apart, everyone knows the Scottish game and the club. 

And in Odsonne Edouard, they have the best player in the country, a strike who will get 30 goals should he stay fit and in Glasgow, which I believe he will for one more season at least. 

The arrivals at Ibrox of Kemar Roofe and Cedric Itten, most likely paid for by the sale of Alfredo Morelos, will be key. Gerrard needs them both to work. He needs everything to work as perfectly as football will allow. 

This is why, for me, he must put all of his eggs in one basket. Stopping Celtic somehow is the only thing nestling in the manager’s in-box. 

I will be astonished if Gerrard goes into this evening’s game with anything close to a strong team. If he does, if he risks any of his key players, then he’s not as smart as he makes out. 

Back in 1997, Wim Jansen came to Celtic with just one task. Stopping Rangers winning ten in a row, which he did, just, on the final day of that season. 

He was up against an aging Rangers team. That squad of legends had all seen better days. Brian Laudrup didn’t really want to be there. Paul Gascoigne’s personal life was in chaos. He wasn’t even at the club for the run-in. 

Jansen signed some good players – Henrik Larsson springs to mind – but he was helped by Rangers going backwards. Plus, remember, Walter Smith had revealed his intention to leave. 

Today’s Celtic team are anything but done. Neil Lennon isn’t going anywhere. There is a school of thought which says only Celtic can beat Celtic – but I don’t quite go along with that. 

Gerrard has a chance to make history by stopping history but only if he sacrifices everything else for the title. Tomorrow will tell us if he’s read the room. 

Because if that Rangers squad is stretched, if Gerrard and his coaching staff have it in their heads that they can challenge domestically, including the cups, and in Europe, which will come again soon enough, Celtic will stroll to ten and the Liverpudlian will be out of a job. 


We were given a timely and disturbing reminder this week about why footballers all around the world are taking the knee for Black Lives Matter. 

England international Danny Rose, a rather famous chap, revealed that even at the age of 30, the police pull him over for the crime of driving a nice care. 

Rose said: “Each time it's, 'Is this car stolen? Where did you get this car from? What are you doing here? Can you prove that you bought this car?'” 

The Tottenham player went on to relay the may times his ticket has been double checked while he’s travelled first class on a train. This doesn’t happen to white footballers. It rarely happens to white people. 

For those out there who somehow believe players taking the knee is wrong, Rose’s plight ought to get you a least thinking why this issue is bigger than any ridiculous theory rattling around your head.