Ryan Jack and the Rangers reaction I can’t suss out as Ange style addiction absent at Ibrox – Hugh Keevins – Hugh Keevins

In Ange We Trust is the Celtic fans’ slogan of support for their manager.

The Prophet Postecoglou, they implicitly believe, will eventually lead them out of the wilderness that was last season and give them back the league title.

The question is, has everyone associated with Rangers bought into Giovanni van Bronckhorst in the same non-negotiable way?

I can’t make up my mind whether the look on Ryan Jack’s face when he was hooked in Braga on Thursday night was frustration borne of disappointment or good old-fashioned anger.

I don’t know whether he was being diplomatic or not when he spoke about an injury afterwards but he looked about as happy as the average Rangers supporter when they bring up the 12-point swing in Celtic’s favor that has befallen Rangers on the manager’s watch .

Celtic remain seven games away from a possible domestic Treble that would test the credulity of their most terminally-optimistic supporter, given where they were at the start of the season.

Rangers look as if they’re still suffering from the after-effects of losing to their rivals last Sunday.

Any Rangers or Celtic manager is only ever three games away from a crisis.

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Using that historical rule of thumb, van Bronckhorst has one game left to avoid turmoil after successive defeats to Celtic and Braga. Because there are plenty of Rangers fans who will consider this afternoon’s league game away to St Mirren as more important than Thursday night’s return leg with the Portuguese side in Europe.

Even if that tie could take Rangers to within three games of winning their first European trophy for half a century.

It is utopia versus myopia.

The big picture as opposed to short-sightedness.

When something is said to be too good to be true, that’s normally because it is.

The traditional element within Rangers’ support therefore reserve the right to cling to the belief the title race is not over yet. If that is the case then there’s no margin for error in Paisley today – and no room to take anything for granted.

Even if the line they have to walk is drawn across a pitch where not much of a positive nature has happened for the home side of late.

If the St Mirren players who lost at Motherwell last weekend were looking for a motivational speech afterwards, what they got instead was a charge-sheet read out to them by their manager Stephen Robinson.

They were variously accused of being players whose minds were at other clubs as contracts expire and a relegation-threatened team of woeful defenders whose ineptitude demanded an upgrade with different personnel next season.

We will find out today if that dismissal of a dressing room has turned the occupants into conscientious objectors, unwilling to go into the trenches for their manager, or if it angers them into retaliation. Maybe Gio should deliver some home truths as shock therapy for his players too.

Before it’s too late.

As one caller on the radio put it succinctly: “Three defeats in a row to Celtic, and no Europe, means his job is on the line.”

The decision to bring non-combatants Aaron Ramsey and Amad Diallo to Ibrox from Juventus and Manchester United looks increasingly like a serious misjudgment as well as a waste of money.

Others, regardless of what Jack thinks, underperformed against Braga in Portugal.

And no shots on goal over 90 minutes in Europe for the first time since 2009 tells its own story regarding Rangers’ performance.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst reacts during Rangers game with Braga

The last time Rangers won a European trophy they failed to win their own domestic league.

Celtic took that prize in 1972.

Is that a lucky omen? Or just clutching at straws?

Only van Bronckhorst and his players can provide the answer to that one.

By being better than they were against a Braga team who were, to use the condemnatory expression, bang average.

It’s all very well calling on the crowd to drag them over the line on Thursday but the big earners have to do their bit as well.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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