It was anticipation, not love, in the air at Ibrox this Valentine’s Day. It felt almost poetic that 12 years on from entering administration we could go top of the league for the first time in two years. But due to a combination of poor finishing and top goalkeeping it wasn’t to be. And this might be controversial but I don’t care. Goal difference may be crucial at the end of the season but it means nothing in February, apart from bragging rights. It’s all about the three points.

Expectation levels are high at Ibrox since the appointment of Philippe Clement. Prior to his arrival, Michael Beale had played seven league games; winning four and losing three. Whilst Steven Davis took temporary charge of one league game which he won. We have now played 17 league games under Clement, winning 15, drawing one and losing one. Interestingly it’s the same points total Beale accumulated in his first season after the same amount of games but the atmosphere feels very different. This is caused partly because Celtic are nine points worse off this season. But it’s more-so because it’s evident Rangers are building something and playing in a convincing manner.

Against Ross County we created our second highest goal scoring opportunities of the season and George Alexander Wickens in goals, on loan from Fulham, produced the most amount of saves in the league this season. Focusing on the positives, James Tavernier contributed three assists which now means he has the most goal involvements in the league (19), our top goalscorer in all competitions (17), our top assists in all competitions (10) and joint 14th most goal contributions in world football this season (27). It’s difficult to understand why he is targeted by so many supporters and will only truly be appreciated when he leaves Rangers, hopefully with many more medals in his locker. My captain.

We need to talk about Cyriel Dessers. He scored an incredible goal to get us off the mark and scored an important second to take us into half time with a lead which changed the whole atmosphere at the break. Yet incredibly he left most fans frustrated after a total of eight shots, five on target, one off the post and another cleared off the line. Jermain Defoe once said that some players hit shots whilst others shoot to score, and that was certainly the case for Cyriel Dessers. A more clinical striker would have bagged a few more and seen Rangers sitting top of the league, until Saturday at least. That’s something most supporters had concerns about and wanted us to sign a more prolific striker in January, as mentioned in a previous article. Let’s hope that the league doesn’t come down to goal difference as this is our one weakness amongst the squad at present.

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Cyriel Dessers wasn’t the only player to miss big opportunities. In truth, there’s too many to list in this article. In my opinion the players started to play the occasion and not the game. Everyone knew that beating Ross County by three clear goals would put us top of the league and I think it led to a little panic and loss of composure. The manager mentioned it in his post match press conference. He understands the demands from supporters but he is challenging his players to stay calm and play their own game. I’m confident if they do this we will continue picking up three points and the goals will come.

Although I’d argue we should have won by three clear goals on Wednesday as Fabio Silva had a huge penalty claim at the end. I wonder if that incident will be added to a list of errors by the officials that should have been checked by VAR?

We head to McDiarmid Park for the lunch time kick off on Sunday, knowing what will be needed as Celtic play 24 hours before us. But St Johnstone, under an experienced manager in Craig Levein, is always a difficult game in Perth because of their system and surface. We need to continue to get behind the team and give everything from everyone. If we continue to pick up 3 points it’s only a matter of time before we top the league. I’m not even going to dare to guess the team as Philippe Clement keeps us guessing. It’s clear he’s attempting to give everyone important minutes as we will soon be heading into a very busy schedule of games when we play our Europa League last 16 fixtures on the 7th and 14th March, sandwiched between a cup trip to Easter Road. I’m excited to learn our opponents when the draw for the next round takes place in Switzerland on February 23rd. One player relishing being back in the team is Tom Lawrence who is looking back to his best in a deeper role but with Nicolas Raskin not featuring on Wednesday night and Dujon Sterling returning from suspension there’s competition in the centre of the park - which is a refreshing change from before Christmas. Remember to listen to our preview podcast where Craig and John give their thoughts on the team and let us know yours in the forum!

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