It is doubtful if there is a Rangers supporter alive that has rewatched the Viaplay Cup Final defeat to Celtic, but at Hampden as the teams faced off again in the Scottish Cup semi-final, their supporters were forced to sit through a repeat performance.

A good start? Check. Stifling the threat of Celtic for long spells? Check. Switching off at a critical moment to gift their opponents the lead? Check. Missing gilt-edged opportunities? Check. Being forced to watch their bitter rivals celebrate? Check mate.

By the end, they may have wished that the thick cloud of pyro smoke that obscured the field to delay kick-off had hung around for a good bit longer.

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The stakes could hardly have been higher for Rangers at Hampden, and Michael Beale rolled the dice as he gambled on the fitness of Connor Goldson and Ryan Kent. Goldson performed well enough, but there was more familiarity in the disappointing contribution of Kent.

In fairness to him, he clearly wasn’t fully fit as he lumbered through the first half before being hooked at half time for Fashion Sakala, but that 45 minutes provided something of a fitting bookend to the latter part of his Rangers career. A player who promises so much, but all too often has failed to deliver.

The Herald:

For all his undoubted talent, Kent is often pilloried for his lack of goal contributions, and in fairness to him he did manage one here. Unfortunately for him, it was as part of a collective brain freeze that inflicted half the Rangers team as Celtic took the lead.

Time and again this Rangers side have failed to heed the fact that Celtic restart the game quickly. They cannot say they haven’t been warned, and indeed burned by that tactic in the past. And yet, they were again caught out, and this was perhaps the most egregious example of them all.

Those watching from home may have momentarily thought the action had been paused as Celtic’s Callum McGregor took a quick free kick in Rangers territory, but it was only the players in blue that were static.

Nico Raskin did win a tackle on Matt O’Riley, but then he, Borna Barisic and Kent stood looking at one another as the loose ball was eventually picked up by the grateful Daizen Maeda, who swung it into the area.

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Again, the men in blue were like statues, as James Tavernier and Goldson simply watched Jota ghost in and put a free header into their net.

It was a pity as until that point, it was clear why Beale had chosen to take the risk on Goldson. The big centre-back was commanding the defence well, stepping in to thwart Kyogo’s run in behind and heading over on a couple of occasions as Celtic threatened from set plays.

There had been a further blow for Rangers as Malik Tillman was forced off injured after attempting to tackle Greg Taylor. The American is hardly renowned for his defensive shifts, but he was doing a fine job to that point in stopping the ball getting to Celtic captain McGregor.

At the interval, Beale was forced to twist again, and this time his gambit would have paid off had Sakala not spurned the best opportunity of the game.

With Rangers pushing Celtic higher up the park, they were beginning to create some chances, and Tavernier must have thought he had scored as he placed a shot from the edge of the area off the inside of Joe Hart’s post.

The whole of Hampden thought Sakala was going to score as he latched onto the rebound, but he skewed his effort at the open goal off his shin and into the side netting, and with it went any hope Rangers had of salvaging something from this sorry season.

The Herald:

Another image that sums up final throes of this Ibrox era was a sullen Alfredo Morelos trudging off to be replaced by Ianis Hagi late on after again failing to make an impact, a man who was once seen as indispensable to this team now unlikely to be missed by the Rangers fans when he departs in the summer. He won’t be the only one to leave, and if Beale is to have any chance of tilting the scales in Rangers favour next term, that may be no bad thing.

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The Rangers manager has already started to put his own stamp on this team, and additions like Raskin and Todd Cantwell have offered some promise. More signings are sure to follow, and are badly needed, before they go again.

For their supporters, there was no repeat of the win at this stage last season that seemed to promise so much ahead of this one. Instead, they were left with the familiar feeling of disappointment that has come to sum up this campaign, and that will perhaps be the legacy of so many members of this squad.