BBC's Tom English confused by 'extremely' curious Rangers side after Celtic draw
Tom English believes this Rangers side “defies description” after they came back to draw with Celtic despite playing almost twice as much lately.
Fashion Sakala scored the equaliser to Jota’s first-half opener at Parkhead, and nearly won it late in the 1-1 draw that left the way open for the Hoops to go on and lift the title.
But after a season that has seen wild inconsistency between domestic slip ups and European dominance, English was at a loss to sum up the essence of Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side.
He wrote of Gers in the BBC Sport match report today (2 May): “A riddle wrapped in a mystery. In the last month, before Sunday, they played seven games and 11 and a half hours of largely high-octane football to Celtic’s four games and six and a half hours.
“They looked in deep trouble yet came off the ropes and started swinging. Even without Alfredo Morelos, Kemar Roofe, Aaron Ramsey and Ianis Hagi, four of the most creative players at the club, they still found ways to make it a tremendous scrap.
“They’ve been an extremely curious lot. Rangers have now dropped points in 11 league games this season.
“That screams weakness, but then you look at the flipside and it hollers heart and character. The incredible run to the semi-final of a European competition that might yet become an unreal run to the final of a European competition.”
It will ultimately be impossible to assess the van Bronckhorst Rangers until the summer, and even then it will be a task.
He could yet finish his first season with the Europa League and Scottish Cup trophies, and Champions League qualification.
At the same time, despite admittedly showing admirable fight to battle back in the past two Old Firm meetings, the league title has been ceded too easily.
There is clearly a lot to be impressed by, yet the post-break stumbles are cause for concern.
Surely there will be changes in the summer, with key players such as Allan McGregor’s, Alfredo Morelos’ and Connor Goldson’s futures up in the air.
The transfer window did not yield the returns that were hoped, despite a belated run from Aaron Ramsey.
And the use of the squad has at times suggested there was little in reserve behind the central core.
Yet injuries to crucial figures have looked set to derail everything more than once, yet Roofe rose to the occasion to fill Morelos’ boots, and when he went down Sakala has shown plenty of spark.
It is an impressive but imperfect side, and it could yet end with plenty of glory, but if it doesn’t it will lead to a major inquisition.