After the decision today by Lord Hodge to end the administration of RFC 2012 PLC (oldco Rangers) and to appoint liquidators, tonight at Ibrox saw the home side (newco Rangers) defeated 3-0 by Inverness Caledonian Thistle. The clinical performance of the away team belied concern that, as an ex-Rangers hero, Terry Butcher’s team could be as ineffectual as that of another former Rangers great, Stuart McCall, in the last round.
Apart from the fact that the players are professionals who, I expect, would be even more determined to win if their boss told them to lose, the managers are too, and it is simply a statistical quirk arising from a small sample size which makes Motherwell’s recent record so poor. For the avoidance of doubt, I am not suggesting that Mr McCall sends out his Motherwell teams to lose to Rangers.
In any event, the result tonight, in front of 28,000 fans who braved the wind, rain and cold to go to the match, was what one would expect of an SFL3 team playing an SPL outfit.
My brief foray into football punditry was prompted by the piece on the official Rangers website reporting on the match.
The particular sentence which caught my eye was the first in the piece:-
“RANGERS crashed out of the League Cup as SPL side Inverness exploited their youthful inexperience to record an ultimately comfortable victory at Ibrox.”
I know that one of the mantras chanted by the fans of Rangers this season is that their team has been disembowelled by the effects of administration, sale of assets, players leaving under TUPE etc.
Here too the official Rangers site attributes the outcome to “youthful inexperience”.
I added up the ages of the players who made it on to the field for each time.
Rangers – 14 players – total age 355 years – AVERAGE AGE 25.3
Inverness CT – 13 players – total age 315 years – AVERAGE AGE 24.2
I looked too at the Celtic team from last night.
Celtic – 14 players – total age 344 years – AVERAGE AGE 24.5
Maybe Rangers suffered from “youthful inexperience” (and two of their players were teenagers as opposed to one from Inverness) but looking at the figures, their SPL opponent were even more inexperienced.
Mind you, one cannot help but feel sympathy for an attempt to excuse what must be a demoralising defeat, after the high hopes which followed on from the previous round’s win over Motherwell, and the weekend victory at Clyde.
Don’t worry – football punditry is now back in the box, and I can get writing on the events of today in Lord Hodge’s court – having extricated myself from the cupboard!
Posted by Paul McConville (in the Montfordian sports jacket)