Stevie G: Activate Scowl Mode
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 an actual proper journalist. His current role as Director of (mis) Communications at Rangers has seen him contort into a Immortan Joe character, the demented baddie from Mad Max, Traynor’s incarnation strapped to the front of the Ibrox PR juggernaut, wreaking havoc across the Scottish footballing landscape.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 of the Ibrox club to Sunday’s incident-packed game against the Dons would instead crank up the crassness factor even further.The game, Gerrard’s first league match in charge, started frenetically with his team reduced to 10-men after a 12th minute red card for Alberto Morelos after a petulant kick out at Scott McKenna. The Ibrox men were then awarded a highly contentious penalty in the 30th minute. The conversion of the penalty gave Rangers a foothold in the game, allowing them to sit back and question whether Aberdeen had enough in their new look team to break them down. The answer seemed 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, looking highly dangerous when hitting 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 justifiably feel aggrieved not to have taken the three points. As a rookie manager experiencing his first taste of Scottish football, it may have been expected Gerrard would show a modicum of respect to his opponents and the Scottish game while still acknowledging his team felt hard done by.However, any expectation of a dignified appraisal neglected to factor in the influence of Traynor; devilishly perched on Gerrard’s shoulder.Gerrard, the latest stooge wheeled out to front the Ibrox circus, seems only to operate on two modes: perma-grin or perma-scowl. Desperate to convey his dissatisfaction and seemingly labouring under the idea that a seriously furrowed brow gives off the impression of managerial gravitas, Uncle Jim went ahead and activated 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.”Considering the Dons have finished above Rangers for the past two seasons on a fraction of the budget, this statement seemed not only ironically classless, but incredibly naïve. The boldness declaration on the back of one game came across as direct response to Willie Miller’s appeal for dignity. This was staunch fingered salute to those who dared question Rangers right to feel superior.Gerrard went on to compound the impression he is utterly incapable of forming an original thought by asserting that referees have been actively discriminating against his clubs for years…I wonder who planted that idea in his head?Evidently still hurting from the liquidation of their previous incarnation, Gerrard’s cantankerous musings, no matter how furrowed the brow delivering them, should be treated like with the same critical eye as everything that comes out of the club these days. Much like the recently released Unionist Club is Unionist picture of the Ibrox dressing resplendent with Union Jack massage table. Traynor knows his core audience and does a cracking job of pandering to them at all times. Every soundbite, every interview, every picture that is released is a piece of carefully designed propaganda, intended to bolster the inherent superiority complex of the Rangers fans while simultaneously stoking the ridiculous sentiment that the world is somehow against Scotland’s Establishment club.From an Aberdeen perspective, you can only hope those in power at Pittodrie are able to shake themselves loose of the current Rangers Stockholm Syndrome they appear to be trapped in. Any notion that Rangers are a class above Aberdeen, on or off the park, should act as the proverbial newspaper clipping on the wall that drives us on to greater heights this season.Stand Free.