We did it. This past weekend saw us secure the league title. 55 has happened and we saw it happen in some style over the course of this season. What must never be forgotten is that this was not a title that was simply handed over to us, we played some amazing games and produced some superb results along the way to achieve it and are fully deserved winners of the Scottish Premiership. And what’s more, to have completed it so early is an even more remarkable accomplishment, I am not sure we have ever secured a league title whilst still being in European competition before? The rest of the domestic campaign can be one we can set back and enjoy as we no longer need to chase any results, we simply go out and play and hope to win on the day. And if we can play like we did on Saturday then there is every chance we could hand out a few more thrashings before the season ends.
The intensity of the play from the start was the clear sign of a team wanting to get the job done as soon as possible. Some good signs early on followed by an excellent strike on the edge of the box to put us ahead followed by a second mere moments later to ease any tension on the day. The second half also had a high tempo start with a third goal scored right at the beginning and from there the contest was over. St Mirren, as good a side as they have been this season, had absolutely no chance against our side. As their own manager stated, they were beaten in the tunnel. And the fact that the players were able to celebrate afterward in the way they did was simply tremendous. Seeing our manager, our coaching staff, our players, all of them our idols, revelling in the success that they knew was coming (because they knew that lot would drop points on the Sunday, we all did, because the Masons made it so) gave us some of the best images in a changing room I think we have ever seen. Our club has seen a lot of change this season. An updated version of the club crest, a number of updates to the stadium, a new and improved communications strategy and a continued striving to improve our Women’s team and Youth sides. The one thing that has never changed, that never will change, is the want to be as successful as possible. It is something we had to work so hard to get back. But Steven Gerrard, along with his team, have brought that back to us.
Here is how you rated our players after our side secured our 55th league title at the weekend.
Allan McGregor – 7.0 (7)
Consistency is his game, and the noise of the day has meant there was a slight escape from the fact that once again we kept a clean sheet. This record we have created in the league this season regarding shut outs is getting to absolutely epic levels and McGregor has been vital to it with his one off saves in games that have been so dominated by the players in front of him. What a legend of this football club he is. For some, the finest Rangers goalkeeper they have ever seen, and the standard bearer for future generations.
Nathan Patterson – 7.4 (7)
That future generation could well consist of this lad. He has never looked out of place in the team when he has played and he provides the ideal combination of good going forward and good whilst staying back. The whole squad want him to succeed and that is feeding into the fans attitude toward him now as well. Expect this lad to keep getting better, and if we can keep him for a long time we will really benefit from that.
Connor Goldson – 8.0 (8)
This has to go down as one of the most consistent and impressive defensive displays from an individual over a season. To have played every minute of every game in a campaign that saw us secure the title is quite simply remarkable. One of the key things that has helped him over this season is he has learned to control the controllables. By that, I mean he has found a way to find his form again when he has had a below par performance which is why they have been so rare over the season. He has been incredible, and should be remembered as key to our domestic success. A real candidate for player of the season.
Filip Helander – 6.9 (7)
A reduced amount of game time with Slavia Prague in mind no doubt, and there is good reason for Gerrard and the coaching staff to see him as crucial to our Europa League hopes. He just isn’t a player that is involved in a team that loses matches. Although he will not take the headlines for the defensive security we have had, when he was brought in he was seen as a level up in defensive quality, and he has proven to be exactly that.
Borna Barisic – 7.1 (7)
Here is a sliding doors moment for you. What if we did not draw Osijek in the Europa League qualifiers in 2018? Would we have still looked to sign Barisic at that point? Well, frankly, thank goodness we did play them and it gave us the added push to get that deal done. Despite a tough first season he has improved so much from there to the point that he will go down as a Rangers legend for being part of the team that secured this league title.
Glen Kamara – 7.6 (8)
We should never underplay how little we paid for Glen Kamara. A midfielder who has improved a great deal in the past year. A solid presence in the centre, a level of cultured passing that has been so important for us over the season, including his set up for our second goal here, and more bravery to take on players on the ball and even shoot when he feels it would benefit. One of the greatest pieces of business our club has ever done, because there is no way we do not make a massive profit on him when the time comes.
Steven Davis – 7.5 (7)
Legend. Simply that. Steven Davis is a legend of a Rangers player. To have been a key component of the three titles with Walter Smith, and to then return to the club to gain our 55th title, it is as simple as it comes, he is a Rangers legend who deserves to be spoken of in the same manner as the likes of Ian McColl, Alex MacDonald and many more midfield maestros. Everything about him screams icon with this club, and should be forever spoken of us such.
Joe Aribo – 7.8 (8)
When he wants to, he can be a top baller. Aggression is the key to this, he just needs to find a way to make that more consistent over the season. Having had his injury issues earlier on, it maybe took him a while to find that initial form at the start of the season again but all the same, he has been so useful in games over the campaign and deserves to be remembered as someone who made a good impact over this amazing season.
Ianis Hagi – 8.0 (8)
Just over a year ago, we signed the son of Gheorghe Hagi. Now, the prince has become the king amongst the Rangers support, as Ianis has been that added spark of quality in attack that has helped in the second part of this season in particular. Earlier in the season he struggled to find his feet but as soon as that switch clicked to on he was the player we all knew he could be and it made all the difference to us. He slotted away the third goal with ease after good build up play, and his role now will be to play the threaded balls to bamboozle some of the best defences in Europe. I’m sure he is relishing the task.
Alfredo Morelos – 8.0 (8)
Alfredo Morelos killed Terry Munro. And he has nothing but joy at that fact. When Rangers kept hold of him in the previous summers transfer window, many were astonished that we turned down a bid from Ligue 1 that would have been the highest fee received for a player. Thank god we kept him. Especially in the most recent games, his overall game and influence has been nothing short of vital for the side. And whether it be his strength on the ball, his movement off of it or the finishing ability like he showed with our second goal, a lovely turn into space and placed shot into the net, he is such a great talent that deserves to be spoken of as such.
Ryan Kent – 8.3 (8) – Man of the Match
What a magnificent talent he is. His goal, the opener in this game, really summed up how good he can be. Turning onto his left and smashing the ball home, this was a quality goal that in other seasons could have been in line for goal of the season contender. Setting the tone like that is what he does so well, and his overall attacking influence in this game made him the stand out performer. No wonder we paid what we did for him, he will be sold for way more than that. That is, if we feel like selling him.
Leon Balogun – 6.0 (6)
Good to see him back in the team after missing some games with the injury picked up against Antwerp. He was brought in due to Nikola Katic suffering a season wrecking injury, and his presence as a challenger for the centre back position, as well as his recent covering at right back, is why he deserves to be very fondly thought of by us all.
Scott Arfield – 5.9 (6)
Beginning to see some improved performances from Arf, this cameo was possibly his most promising since returning from injury. Unlucky not to score but all the same a proper midfield general who has completely justified Steven Gerrard’s decision to make him one of his first Rangers signings. He really has saluted his way to the title.
Jermain Defoe – 5.7 (6)
For the career that Jermain Defoe has had, there is something rather cool about this title being the one that he has worked his career toward. It almost seemed criminal for him to have gone this long without a league title, but now he can say that he achieved it and in some style too. Although not the vital attacking force, you cannot say he has not helped the dressing room during his time with us, even if he should have scored that chance late on.
Scott Wright – 5.9 (6)
I’m sure Scott Wright is looking at his decision to leave Aberdeen to come here and thinking “well that was a good call!” A title winner in 34 days of being at the club, whilst his former manager now seeks new employment. Yeah, he will be very happy with that call.
Greg Stewart – 6.0 (6)
The lesser spotted Greg Stewart getting a game and it is probably the best he has looked for us in a very long time. I am really happy for him. A player who never caused any issue off the field for lack of playing time, and he gets to fulfil his boyhood dream of lifting a league title with his club. Who wouldn’t want to have that legacy?