Stevie G: Activate Scowl Mode

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Since his days as chief provocateur on BBC Scotland’s Your Call phone-in, Jim Traynor has made a living from being a loud-mouth, caricature of a proper journalist. His current role as Director of mis-Communications at Rangers has seen him morph into a red, white and blue Immortan Joe (the demented baddy from Mad Max), Traynor’s incarnation strapped to the front of the Ibrox PR juggernaut, wreaking havoc across the post-apocalyptic wasteland that is Scottish football.

In the same week Aberdeen legend Willie Miller called for a greater degree of humility from those boldly predicting Rangers will provide the main challenge to Celtic’s dominance of the Scottish Premiership this season, it was entirely predictable that the Traynor-orchestrated reaction to Sunday’s incident-packed game against the Dons would instead ramp up the crassness levels even further.

The game, Gerrard’s first league match in charge of the Light Blues, started frenetically with his team reduced to 10-men in the 12th minute after Alfredo Morelos’ petulant kick out at Scott McKenna. The Ibrox men then converted a highly contentious first half penalty which allowed them to sit back and ask the question of whether Aberdeen had enough guile in their new-look team to break them down. The answer appeared to be a resounding ‘no’ as the Dons toiled to create any real chances with creativity at a premium. As the game wore on Rangers looked the more likely to score when hitting the Dons on the break. The 93rd minute equaliser from young Dons debutant Bruce Anderson was barely deserved, though the majority of the jubilant crowd cared little as Pittodrie erupted in wild celebration. On the balance of play, Rangers could feel justifiably aggrieved not to have taken the three points.

As a rookie manager getting his first proper taste of Scottish football, it might have been expected Gerrard would trot out the well-worn platitudes of respect for their opponents while acknowledging his team had good reason to feel hard done by. However, any expectation of a dignified appraisal didn’t count on the ‘Traynor factor’. Gerrard seems only to operate in two modes: perma-grin or perma-scowl. With Big Jim perched nefariously on his shoulder, there was only one way this interview was destined to go: time to activate Scowl Mode.

“Obviously, I’m gutted for my players we’ve conceded late on. But we showed today that we’re a class above Aberdeen,” whined the slippy Scouser.

Considering the Dons have finished above Rangers for the past two seasons on a fraction of their budget, not only did Gerrard’s statement show a complete lack of dignity, but it also came across as incredibly naïve. Gerrard’s brashness felt like a direct rebuttal to Willie Miller’s appeal for a more considered approach. This was a staunch one-fingered response to those who dare question Rangers inherent right to be the best.

Gerrard went on to compound the impression he’s incapable of forming an original thought by claiming referees have been actively discriminating against his clubs for years…now I wonder who planted that idea in his head?

In reality, Gerrard’s cantankerous musings should be treated with the same critical eye as everything that comes out of the club these days.

Traynor knows his audience and does a cracking job of pandering to their core identity and deep-rooted insecurities.  Every soundbite, every interview, every picture released by the club is a carefully crafted piece of propaganda, designed to play to the inherent superiority complex of the Rangers fan base while stoking the ridiculous victim mentality that pervades Scotland’s establishment club. 

From an Aberdeen perspective, you can only hope those in power at Pittodrie use Gerrard’s comments as a catalyst to escape the current Rangers Stockholm Syndrome they appear to be trapped in. This should be a timely reminder that they are not our friends. 

Stand Free.