Proving the Rangers’ belief in the amazing endgame

It was only when the postmortem reports of Rangers’ title prospects were being written, just as Celtic were about to be declared champions again by the court of public opinion – including most Rangers fans, you suspect – that Scott Arfield tore up the script and swallowed it whole.

Two late, late goals – and we must stress this – late goals turned an almost certain defeat into an impossible victory.

Arfield came off the bench and was a relentless threat. Even before his goals he had chances. Even before Aberdeen got completely sick and their star operators – the outstanding Connor Barron in particular – gave them a proper warning that he might be up to something.

He was like Houdini. The great man used to explain what he was going to do. He would have been chained, handcuffed, and thrown into a sealed, steel-reinforced water tank—and then he would have been set free. Nobody bought it at first but Harry always delivered it.

Nobody might have bought the idea that the Rangers would start their own escape business, but they did. Credit Arfield’s fierce determination, ascribes self-confidence to the Rangers amid almost overwhelming evidence that they will not save themselves.

If you’re an Aberdeen fan, you’ll be talking about their defense at the end. It hurt. Deeper and deeper, more desperate by the minute, steady by the second. They put a lot into it, but a match lasts as long as it lasts, not as long as you want it to last. They ended, but what a drama, what an amazing ending.

We were all ready to declare this league a done deal. No points for Rangers and three more for Celtic on Wednesday would extend their lead to Everestian by 12 points. Barring the bubonic plague descending on Lennoxtown wiping out Callum McGregor and half his team mates, it was impossible to see how Celtic wouldn’t win it comfortably from there.

Sport is certainly full of troubles. Buster Douglas beat Mike Tyson 40-1. Norton’s coin won the Cheltenham Gold Cup by a score of 100-1. Leicester won the Premier League with a score of 5000-1. The possibility of Celtic legs moving out from under them and crashing to the ground with victory in sight like footballer Devon Loch was something not even Mystic Meg could foresee.

Celtic win on Wednesday and this league is over. Enter Arfield. Delete, delete, delete.

“Rangers survive, just, in an exciting night”

Michael Bell has had a fair old baptism as Rangers manager. They trailed 2-1 to Hibs, but the win came to an end. He trailed 2-1 to Aberdeen later in the game, but once again his team’s personality decided it. Not ability, but courage. He rated the performance five out of 10 which was fair enough.

For the good of his heart, he’ll hope for something more routine in the future. The mental strength in his team is evident but it is not a good idea to constantly test him. The man will be prematurely old if this continues.

You had to feel Jim Goodwin. Figuratively speaking, he has spent every waking hour since Saturday getting slapped in the face with a North Sea grave. Since not performing against Celtic, the Aberdeen manager has been under the sort of spotlight usually reserved for a suspected criminal under questioning.

His answer to the meek back-screen flames three days earlier was as emphatic as they come. For weekend shyness, read with thunder. From powder, read powder powder.

Not only did they come from behind to lead the team, they did so by scoring two majestic goals that would not have been out of place in the enchanting stadiums of Qatar last month. Not only did they raise their stadium to a riot of exhilarating, exciting fanfare, they also seemed to have knocked out any hope Rangers had of making some sort of grip to Celtic’s league chase.

We suspected that the verbal blows dealt to Goodwin and his players on Saturday would lead to a response, but perhaps not this kind of response.

When Aberdeen made up the starting line-up an hour or so before kick-off, it’s fair to say the reaction was one of excitement. Jayden Richardson returned to the team for the first time since early November and lost 2-1 to Livingston. ‘Disaster coming’ wrote a fan on social media in anticipation of what Ryan Kent might do to the young full-back at Rangers bottom left. not like that.

Richardson was efficient, Barron was fantastic, Duke was brilliant during his time on the pitch, which featured a sensational free-kick to level them, and Leighton Clarkson put them ahead with another pearl.

There was effort and desperation from the Rangers as time ran out, but each attack was met with resistance from the Red Wall. Then that wall started missing a brick or two. When Arfield ironed it out, it looked like that. Definitely a blow to Rangers’ title chances. A bad result for a team that needs to win and win again. Then hope for hope.

We were seven minutes into extra time when the winner entered, the World Cup in terms of extra minutes. The reaction was the wonder of football in microcosm, the dual feelings of one team celebrating madly and another collapsing in weary disbelief.

Bill was a happy man, but not ecstatically happy. In the aftermath of the hoopla, he saluted his players for their spirit but chastised them for their lack of quality. They just survived. The title is still alive, just that. The thrill of the night? Just awesome.

#Proving #Rangers #belief #amazing #endgame

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