Analysis; a difficult start for Steven Gerrard


When Rangers appointed Steven Gerrard, his blurb was about high standards, about players who would be ready to fight, willing to be hungry.

He spoke extremely well and looked every inch a Rangers manager with the expectations he had.

It’s only one match, but we’re already worried if Steven Gerrard considered last night’s disappointing display against the Macedonian equivalent of Hibs (albeit their domestic league is miles worse than the SPL) even remotely ‘satisfying’.

Sure, he said ‘no more than satisfying’ and clarified:

“I thought we should have won it more comfortably by being a bit sharper in front of goal. We’ll take 2-0 but I’m slightly disappointed it wasn’t more comfortable.”

But then added:

“I thought the impact players were really good so, judging it, I’d probably say satisfactory. I’m very confident we can go over there and score goals to get the result.”


“We’re satisfied with the result and with parts of the performance.”

Sorry, but lots of us fans don’t share anything like this view.

Last night’s display was mostly poor. There were some fleeting chances, but the categorical difference between the Bury result and this one was night and day, as we feared. Neither goal was convincing – one a goalkeeping howler, the other a penalty that wasn’t – and the performance was lethargic, slow (especially into the second half), and at points in this match our ‘energetic, aggressive and hungry’ players appeared to have been fed tranquilisers.

Tactically it was a complete mess, in truth. It was billed as a 4-1-4-1 just like the Bury formation, but unlike that one Rangers found the going tough in a match that wasn’t a friendly – against opposition who had aggression compared with Bury who didn’t. The early goal against Bury settled us (the formation was initially fragmented and once or twice our backline was far too high and got totally exposed) and our guests then sat back and just let us have our way. Shkupi didn’t.

And frankly the big strong lads we’ve supposedly signed did not bully our opponents – it was exactly the same as last season.

Gerrard’s hands are behind his back in the window, so plenty of slack on his part for that, but for us to have nine new signings, start five (six if you count Murphy) and still play like last season is a really bad sign.

We can already hear the cries of ‘IT’S ONLY ONE MATCH, GIVE THEM TIME’ with accompanying ‘NEGATIVE P*SH’ (despite this site also being accused of pro-Rangers propaganda the past few months). Well we did that with Pedro in both his Progres shambles and the difficult Motherwell opener and look how that turned out. We just call it how it is and if it ain’t great, pray it turns around.

All we can say is we sure as hell hope the manager and players produce something a bit better in Macedonia on Tuesday or this team could face another early embarrassing European exit.

And that’s all we need.


  1. It's all about qualifying and moving on to the next round …we will do that however the next game will be much more difficult . Let's just see how it goes . We need to give everyone the chance here to get it right …Please let's not jump the gun IN I ask for calm… give Steven Gerrard the time he needs to get this right

  2. Ok you asked for it. It's only one match, give them time!
    Seriously I believe it will get better. It may not be enough to win the title this season but I kind of suspected that anyway. As long as we continue to show improvement I will be satisfied if not entirely happy.

  3. i dont think any of the midfield and forwards were gerrards signings,arfield and murphy signed before he came in so i'll reserve judgment till his own players are in they positions but i will agree that we were poor last night no aggression

  4. I thought the new players did pretty well – Katic perhaps a bit tentative – the ones who let us down – as they did last year – were Windass – like playing with ten men, Morelos – another bad day at the office – and Tav, who is not captain material – with 5 added minutes, when you score a penalty, we should be quickly back to the centre circle looking for a third goal, not bigging it up to the fans for having scored.

  5. Definitely a disappointing performance. Windass is a waste of space and Morelos just isn't good enough. You say Gerrard's hands are behind his back in the transfer window? Why? I don't understand that, he has signed almost a full team! I'm not mega worried yet, just disappointed last night but still hopeful with a bit of confidence we will get there.

  6. Windass is an imposter. Take the money from Cardiff and move on. Candieas should be on the right wing – end of. Morelos should be on the shoulder of the last defender, not out wide foraging for the ball. We need to be so much better than this.

  7. Are you serious? This was the first competitive game, the second overall. The entire back-4 is new apart from Tavernier. The midfield will still change a lot and we had no alternative striking option available in this game either. Given the circumstances it was good result to start the campaign. The performance was terrible, we started with a lot of energy and the first half was good, should have taken more chances though. The second half we were giving them the first 10min or so before we switched to a higher gear again.

    Again, this was the first competitive game. The team will get better as we progress in our preperations. We'll also get new players to gel such as Coulibaly and Sadiq, Middleton already seems like a gem too, so plenty of positives. Goldson & Katic seem to be strong in defence, they just need gel as a partnership.

    We won 2-0 ffs, let's give it time. Last year we played similar but only won 1-0, so there is already an improvement here 😉

  8. I am not convinced that the away game will be any harder. The players might play better in front of a smaller crowd, just like last season which would indicate we have signed the wrong caliber of player. No Morelos or Windass in the next game and that will be an improvement, we wont win anything with either of these 2 imposters in the team.

  9. Gerrard identified the defence as needing serious work done and to his credit he has done that, however like his predecessors he too seems to like filling the team with midfielders, when really it’s the striking position that badly needs looked at, yes he brought in Sadiq, and we have Morelos, but he misses far more than he should, especially the chances we create, he’s still too inexperienced for my liking, as is Sadiq, we really should be pushing the boat out for a striker who has a bit more experience and know how, and who can convert some of these chances that Morelos continues to miss. Before you say where are we going to get someone like that, we just bid £3m on a defender, which would be nice but not a necessity, pretty sure we could’ve found a decent striker for that.

    • A decent striker for £3m? No chance the last decent striker we had was jelavic, he cost £5m almost 10 year ago. In today's money he'd be closer to £10m. Celtic just paid £10m for an average defender. By the looks of it the strategy this season is to spend money on young defenders with potential. Maybe next summer we'll try and pay for a decent striker, but that'll eat the whole budget

  10. Its a bit early lads …but what I thought last night confirmed was that Morelos and Windass are not good enough and are not likely to be good enough. We need a goal scorer.

  11. I think, as usual IN has a knee jerk reaction, however that said I have some sympathy with a lot of the concerns you raised.
    We have to be honest, the result is acceptable but the performance wasn't good. The 2 central defenders weren't really tested but they had 3 corners in a row which the Macedonians won the ball on every occassion. And on numerous occassions the passes from the back were shocking. No real confidence building here but it was only the 2nd game together and things will improve, I hope.

    Midfield I don't think were commanding. Shkupi were able to pass through us too easily too often.
    The pressing that worked so well against Bury didn't happen nearly as well here.

    Candeias and Tav worked brillianly together last year why put Windass out there.
    If Windass proved one thing last year it's that he's useless out wide but causes all sorts of damage through the middle. If you play Windass on the wing your playing with 10 men. True he missed chances but he's proven that he can score and is a big threat if played centrally.

    We did miss too many chances but at least we were creating them. I'm a big fan of Morelos. He's struggling scoring at the moment but so did Super Ally initially. I think his link up play is great. When his luck and confidence changes he's going to score a shit load of goals.

    Like you at 90 minutes I was thinking about Progres last year and thats cause for concern but‘ IT’S ONLY ONE MATCH, GIVE THEM TIME’.

  12. The point I was trying to make Gav is that if we can spend 3m on a defender that looks like a back up then surely we must have some money to spend, so why not go and get a striker 3-5 million, you cannot tell me all the time Allen has had now, he hasn’t identified that the striking position is a problem, yet all we have done so far to rectify situation is bring another inexperienced player in on loan who cannot get a game for his own club. Yes it won’t be easy but if your job is to find players, surely for feks sake we should be looking at a striker with experience. I hate to hark back, but teams of the past, even after the money spending years always had experienced strikers

  13. We Were Playing a Team of Fkn Nobodies from Macedonia

    . For the First Half Hour We Played Well and We were All Over Them
    . For The Next Hour …We Played Crap

    Yes, We Won 2-0, But we Played Crap. We were not Clinical Enough.
    It Should have Been 5 or 6-0
    …FFS Hibs Managed to Score Six!

    . The Ref was a Disgrace, 3 Penalties Disallowed and Countless Decisions against Us. Every Little Infringement Rangers were Battered or Yellow Carded and as soon as Shkupi Player Cuts a Rangers Player in Half
    …Everything is Fine and Dandy

    I Hope Stevie Rips Them a New One because It wasnt Good Enough!

    also Sell Morelos and Windass!

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