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By and large Rangers-related news has been fairly dormant following Sunday’s clash with Celtic. The only real nugget from Ibrox has been a call of unity and defiant togetherness headed by the weekend’s scoring hero, Brahim Hemdani, who categorically stated that any rumours about splits between the home-bred players and foreign imports were wide of the mark. Indeed, he claimed the squad are a close-knit group and the spirit is good.

Quite where the original accusations of divisions actually originated from is anyone’s guess, unless of course the pre-OF showdown revelation of a disagreement between the captain and manager has been expanded in a tabloid manner to engulf the whole team.

Nevertheless, the overall feeling surrounding the Ibrox side is just a little bit better these days. Yes, by no means is Le Guen’s job here finished; he has a gargantuan amount of work to do, particularly next month when the transfer window re-opens and the possibility arises of acquiring some new personnel on the playing staff. However, this does not alter the fact that the last month or so, Falkirk aside, has witnessed an improvement from the team. The gap of 16 points up to the leaders remains an embarrassment, but the catastrophic chaos which surrounded the team in the earlier chunk of the season seems to have abated.

Fast-forward then to Saturday and a visit to Pittodrie as the side’s next business in the SPL. Matches against Aberdeen have rarely been easy in the last 20 years, and now that the reds are above Rangers in the table it is safe to conclude the impending fixture will be no different.

Furthermore is a spice inherent to this fixture. Ever since Neale Simpson’s hideous challenge on Ian Durrant during that delicate early-20’s stage of the Ranger’s career, which effectively stopped him going on to become one of the true greats at Ibrox, there has been viciously bad blood between the two clubs. Indeed, chants of ‘Simmie’ are frequently heard by the bluenose support, and only serve to peddle hate.

Moreover, the Aberdonians are even willing to stoop to glorifying the Ibrox disaster, in which too many lives were lost when a section of Ibrox terracing collapsed. Yet, this tragedy is used as a point scoring device.

Such behaviour leaves a bitterly nasty taste in the mouth; yes, the Old Firm dislike each other with a famously intense rivalry, but the Rangers Aberdeen relationship seems to occupy a true underbelly of loathing above and beyond. There’s something truly sinister about it, to such an extent that the nation’s constabulary will instantly arrest anyone singing about the Ibrox disaster on Saturday.

Let us hope the only thing the Aberdeen fans are singing about is their own pain at the result.


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