A difficult period for Rangers is now well upon us and in truth, the team and the manager are not delivering in the way fans had hoped.
The stellar start made by Rangers this season is well and truly a thing of the past, and the last five league matches reads one loss, two draws and just the two wins.
This is not promotion-clinching form, and today’s debacle at the Falkirk Stadium only served to further enhance the emergence of increasing frailties dogging both the XI and their boss as we switch over to 2016.
While Falkirk’s opener should never have been given in the first place, no one can deny they were worthy of their win – Rangers’ predictable slow play and fruitless flank work was symptomatic of both the players’ apparent complacency over the past 10 weeks and the manager’s clear refusal to either change tactic or personnel, unless forced in both cases.
7th August – St Mirren come to Ibrox, and the match was summed up when a ridiculously obvious ball went right through both Rob Kiernan and Danny Wilson to let Howieson through and score.
Over four months later and it happened at least 10 times in Falkirk. That is the fault of both defenders and manager alike, where tactics, which are not working, are being persisted with.
And it is something which has been plastered over all season – Rangers are far too easy to score against, especially by the top teams, and earlier in the season the goal-fests against the minnows papered over it quite well. But now Warbs’ men are being found out. As are his tactics.
It is brutal to slay the team and manager after such a great start, but 8 points from the last 15 is worrying form, and is highlighted by the two wins being against bottom sides like Alloa.
Another worrying aspect is the ‘clique’ mentality which has burgeoned to the surface – only two slots are actually up for grabs in this team, with, if all are fit, Foderingham, Kiernan, Wallace, Tavernier, Halliday, Holt, Zelalem, McKay and Waghorn all guaranteed starters.
The likes of Oduwa, Clark, Miller, Shiels, Law, Ball, Wilson and the rest are all fighting for two places.
Is that healthy? It certainly defies the ‘pathway to the first team’ Warburton has preached since taking over. Is it any wonder the first team has started to become complacent?
The fact is thus: he and the team were invulnerable to criticism when results were good. When displays were good.
Now they are not, in both cases, both are fully accountable and must accept responsibility and take the negative feedback, just like they did the positive comments earlier in the season.
One can only hope there is a way out of this rut, because right now, Hibs smell blood come the 28th.