Rangers’ 3-0 win over Livingston isn’t exactly a result that’s going to jump off the page when you peruse Saturday’s scores, but that’s not to say we didn’t learn plenty about Steven Gerrard’s side.
The reigning Scottish Premiership champions looked like they were going to run riot after Ianis Hagi opened the scoring with just eight minutes on the clock, but the visitors dug in and with just 15 minutes to play David Martindale’s side looked like they could snatch a late point.
Scott Wright’s emphatic effort dashed any hopes of a Livingston equaliser, with Kemar Roofe’s 90th-minute goal ensuring the scoreline was a true reflection of Rangers’ dominance.
With the Gers’ title defence underway, here’s everything we learned from their opening day victory.
Even at 36 years of age Steven Davis can pull the strings in midfield.
One of the reasons the home side had to wait so long to put the game to bed was because their backline were far too busy dawdling in possession and passing the ball sideways – until Davis took charge.
The former Southampton man started demanding the ball from his centre-backs before dragging his side up the field with progressive running, and suddenly Rangers found themselves 3-0 up.
Davis’ array of passing was a pleasure to watch and despite his status as one of the league’s veterans he’s still got the class to make a difference.
Wright’s career with Rangers so far has seen him used sparingly by Gerrard and his game time has been mainly limited to cameo roles from the bench.
He was named as a substitute once again for his side’s first league game of the season, but an injury to Hagi saw him handed his chance – a chance he grabbed with both hands.
The Scotland Under-21 international’s pace and work ethic was excellent, and he produced the game’s standout moment as he fired the ball with the outside of his boot into the far corner to double Rangers’ advantage.
Gerrard has plenty of options in the wide areas but Wright could prove to be one of his star men this season.
He may have scored against Real Madrid in Rangers’ last pre-season friendly, but Fashion Sakala’s first appearance in the Scottish Premiership suggests he might need a little time to adapt.
The Zambia international was a regular scorer in the Belgian leagues, but having started brightly against Livingston he just started to look a little bit lost.
By the second half he could barely get a touch of the ball and if anything he was just getting in his teammates’ way. His record prior to moving to Scotland suggests there’s a decent striker in there but Gerrard may have to be patient with him.
Rangers may not have secured the three points until late in the game but their overall performance suggests Celtic are in for a real battle if they’re to wrestle back their crown.
The Gers dominated the game from start to finish – enjoying 78% possession – and on another day they could quite easily have filled their boots.
Obviously the champions were expected to beat Livingston at home but there was precious little from their display to encourage Celtic that they’ll be back on their perch at the end of the season.
Well, it’s obviously a given, but it’s so true.
Ibrox may not have been at full capacity on Saturday but the 23,000 who were allowed into the ground more than made up for the empty seats.
The roar of the crowd as the Scottish champions took the lead early on was brilliant to hear and they didn’t stop singing all game.
It’s a bit clichéd but football really isn’t the same without fans and hopefully we’ll see Ibrox and every other stadium in the country back to full capacity in the not too distant future.