It’s been a difficult week for Rangers as everybody connected with the club has finally been forced to come to terms with the reality of their fall from grace.
Although nearly a year has passed since the club was forced into administration and more than six months have already elapsed in the Third Division, their feeble 3-0 defeat at the hands of Dundee United in the Scottish Cup rammed home more forcefully than ever just how far the mighty have fallen.
It wasn’t just the nature of the defeat that will hurt the Ibrox faithful. The fact that they are now out of every competition except Division 3 will emphasise their plight, while the hope of an Old Firm cup derby with Celtic, which was keeping many of the supporters going, has now been finally extinguished.
Players were brought in from the SPL on huge wages and with the promise of challenging for trophies on all fronts, but they have failed miserably to live up to their price tags or reputations.
It seems hard to believe that just a few months ago, midfielder Ian Black was pulling the strings as Hearts lifted the Scottish Cup, or that Dean Shiels was helping his Kilmarnock side stun Celtic to win the League Cup final.
And it seems even more difficult to believe that Emilson Cribari ever played in the Champions League for Lazio, although he did, apparently.
The dodgy defender is doing his best to challenge for the title of the worst Brazilian ever to play in Scottish football, and there are a few potential candidates.
Emerson, Juninho, Samuel Camazzola and Rafael Scheidt, among others, have set the bar spectacularly low, but Cribari’s woeful performance against United at Tannadice confirmed his place as a genuine contender to the crown.
While Celtic look forward to a Champions League last-16 tie with Juventus at Celtic Park next Wednesday, Rangers are looking forward to the slightly less glamorous prospect of facing Queen’s Park in one of the most pointless ‘top-of-the-table’ clashes of all time.
There might only be one league position between the sides but there are a full 19 points separating them in the table, rendering the outcome of the match practically meaningless.
It is a situation which fans of most clubs would be delighted with, but you can’t help feeling that it will leave the Rangers fans feeling slightly empty and unfulfilled.
They will continue to pack out Ibrox in support of their team and defiance against those who have mocked them, but you have to question how much motivation remains for a fanbase who feel that they deserve much more than a Division 3 winners medal for their dedication to the cause.
Nevertheless, a game is never meaningless when you can win some money on it, and that’s where bwin can step in to help give the match some much-needed spice.
Rangers have drawn two of their last three home games and haven’t kept a clean sheet at Ibrox in 2013, so backing Queen’s Park to score at 13/10 could prove to be quite a popular option.
The draw, available at 6/1, is also likely to generate some interest, while 19/2 on a Queen’s Park win might not be quite so popular given that Rangers are yet to lose at home in the league all season.
A victory for Ally McCoist’s men, which is always the most likely outcome regardless of their recent form, is on offer at 3/20, but the low returns makes it difficult to see much value in taking the risk.
So, sorry Rangers fans, but I’m going to add to your misery by suggesting that the top bet this week is to back Queen’s Park to score at 13/10.
New customers who sign up online with bwin qualify for a free £20 bet and using that to back this outcome will return £46 if successful.