Steven Gerrard makes two shock decisions


After the brilliance of the Rapid and Hearts results, Rangers fans have been brought back to earth a little following the slightly underwhelming draw with Spartak, sandwiched in between a bizarrely poor win in Hamilton and a crushingly bad loss at Hampden to Aberdeen.

However, the past two domestic fixtures have both shared one dramatic thing in common – a shock start for a completely unfit player.

Against Hamilton fans were stunned to see Jordan Rossiter come from nowhere to start – as much as regular Ibrox Noise readers will know this site’s love for the chirpy Scouser, we would never have seen a start for him in from the cold like that – and certainly not on 3G.

Then on Sunday Stevie Ger did it again – stunned the support by selecting Umar Sadiq to start up front in the biggest domestic match Rangers have had this season, Celtic away aside.

In the Sadiq example, Gerrard’s hands were certainly partially tied. He had no other striker available to call upon, which made some focus on his decisions to let Ryan Hardie, Zak Rudden and Jason Cummings go (circumstances notwithstanding).

So we won’t completely hold the manager to account on that one, albeit the double edge sword is his own previous decisions led to his hands behind his back.

However, that’s two domestic fixtures in a row where someone completely unexpected has come in from the cold to start, and we do wonder how much of a role that has played in the dreadful performances blighting our last two terrestrial matches.

Rangers were horrible in Hamilton – no getting away from that. The win was bizarre at best, and while we are absolutely not blaming Jordan Rossiter (who did clearly suffer a lack of match sharpness) for this display, the decision to play him may have been a factor.

Then the agony v Aberdeen – another tepid display by Gerrard’s men, and we wonder, again, how much of an impact selecting Sadiq had on this.

We hasten to add – we are blaming no one person at all – we win and lose as a team and management.

But the fact two frozen-out players found themselves starting and the subsequent displays were disjointed at best and weak at worst surely has more than a touch of correlation.


  1. You have completely contradicted yourself in this story…on Sunday if the final ball was better then maybe sadiq would have scored.. He had one chance and fluffed it.. How many chances does morelos miss during a game..he has done well this season because the final balls usually leaves him with an easy finish.. Sadiq didn't get any of those opportunities

    • As youve stated I.N we take it on the chin stand together and move on,lets hope for a good response against killie if we loose the forum could go into meltdown

    • In fairness to Morelos you need to be in the right place to tap those in, The best strikers know where to be. He also offers much more than goals. He is our focus point and a great out ball. Decent passer of the ball too. If Morelos rounds the keeper he is putting that away , not diving.

  2. I think the mass rotation needs to stop if we are going to gel as team. I think our starting line up should mostly be.

    Katic (he is our player )
    Barisic (when fit)

    I would be interested in seeing 5 games in a row with a settled team against the previous 5 games with rotation.

    I dont think we shouldn't rotate altogether , maybe changing one or two players here and there but changing 4-5 players from game to game is hurting us i believe.

    Funny how Tav , Ejara , Kent and Morelas seem to be untouchable regards rotation. Big Kyle has hardly had a sniff , especially as a Striker.

  3. Our quality of player is better but the fact is, Rangers away from home in the SPFL could be mistaken for a Warburton team!

    – Tav still playing RB when he is defensively one of the worst RB's the club has ever had(certainly in 40 years I've been watching Rangers. Not only that,but Gerrard for some explicit reason has made him club captain!

    – Wingers i.e Candieas who prefer to pass the ball backwards, sideways 2 yards or hit it into the box regardless of who is in there or not instead of taking players on, hitting the byline, or cutting into the box themselves.

    – Players woefully played out of position that it's embarassing! Flanagan, a boy who stood out in the EPL against some of the best in the world as RB forced to play on the left where he clearly is uncomfortable…why? well simply so Gerrard can play his new best pal and much weaker Tav in RB

    – Big game mindset, Still lacking as it was under Warbs. Tav looks great against smaller teams, I've yet to see him stand out in a big game or an important game or even just get through it without making mistakes or forgetting how to cross a ball or get height on a freekick.

    – Stupid subs, Gerrard is even beginning to top Warbs here with his subs in the last 10 mins of games. It isn't the under 19's league anymore and bringing an attacker on for 10 mins at the end of the game and expecting him to change things is naive to say the least.

    – Trying to be too clever. Too much obsession with posession and not enough direct action! Take the Semi Final as an example…dozens and dozens of little passes for 90 mins. Sideways, backwards, down the line to Candieas who passes it back to the fullback, who starts the sequence all over again. And as a result we had 2 shots in the entire game…That is a disgrace for a Rangers team in any game let alone a cup semi! And what happens, we get outdone as we have been away from home all season by a bit of simple direct play from the opposition!

    The hope was Gerrard would bring his midset how he played the game into management and be the next Souness. So far he is more Warburton. Not good enough in my eyes….by a long way, and the stats prove it! Lets hope he can turn it around.

    • Wee bit of a bee in your bonnet regards Tav. I dont think the stats back up your thoughts.

      Shkupi – Tav penalty 2-0 win
      Aberdeen – Tav penalty – 1-1 ( should have won that game )
      Maribor – Tav penalty to make it 2-1 , game finished 3-1
      kilmarnock in the cup. 1-3 – Tav 3 assists
      Motherwell 3-3 tav assist to make it 2-2
      Rapid vienna – 1-0 down Tav assists Morelos , Tav scores penalty in the 84th Minute to make it 2-1
      Hearts 3-1 Tav assist
      Hamilton 1-1 Tav scores x2 penalty for 1st away win of the season under pressure to make it 2-1 and 3-1

      22 games so far this season 13 goals conceded. Yes he may have made a mistake or two for those 13 goals but by no means is he the main culprit. The above stats show he has stood up as captain at key points both in Europe , League and cup to get us crucial wins/draws. I for one am happy he plays RB instead of Flanagan and I am happy with him as captain. WATP

    • Well said MH. Anyone saying Flanagan was a stand out in the EPL is confused – if he had, he would still be there. He spent half a season on loan at Bolton last year and none of my pals can figure out how he got a contract up here. I’ve nothing against him at LB for us and in fact, it gives us a steady 3 when Tav goes forward. But to play him instead of Tav is laughable.

    • Martin – your stats are a complete red herring. They are about assists and penalties. William's point is that defensively he is garbage and I couldn't agree more with him. Can't defend to save his life.

    • Sandy

      If Martin is wrong, can you remind us which of the goals conceded in those games were Tav's fault? He has had his share of mistakes, but so have everyone else. And he offers more going forward than any other fullback in Scotland and most wingers

    • Sandy that's why I added in that in 22 games we have lost 13 goals. I believe tav has improved in defence though I admit he can get beaten and make mistakes like all players. The red herring you mention is only the games where tavs contribution won us points. The penatlys are easy to take for granted, it's only a penatly anybody could take one ( not that easy ) but he scores them so consistently and at key points in the games. Maribor 1-1 he scores a pressure penalty towards the end of the game. The assist and penatly against rapid again pressure situation and he turned up. Against Hamilton , no away wins and they just drew level and still he steps up and puts it away (twice).as a captain he is stepping up and contributing at key moments. I didn't mention his goal against Dundee or his goal and assist against st johnstone. I think he is the fall guy in our support and is so unappreciated I just wanted to point out his key moments but yes he can improve and to be fair he has improved. PL teams are not looking at him for no reason. Let's back our team and captain. Watp

    • Meant to add William is questioning his captaincy , I just wanted to show that he is stepping up when required. We all have opinions and fair play to William I am not putting him down just sharing my thoughts on tav.

    • ScotsWhaHae – I agree with Martin, and you, that Tavernier is good going forward. My point, and that of William, is that he cannot defend. That is not based on giving goals away (although was he not responsible for a couple against Motherwell away and giving away a stupid free-kick leading to Hearts goal at Ibrox) but on the basics of defending such as positional sense, marking the opposition's attacking wide player, tackling, covering centre backs, and all the things a decent full back does naturally.

    • Fair enough points sandy but do u not think he is improving ? A good defence around him will help, especially one that mainly speaks English.

    • Bolton Blue, Flanagan stood out plenty when he broke through at Liverpool hence his call up to the England squad. And he broke through playing facing world class opposition! Yes he has played on the left but he is a Right footed right back and that is his natural position. Poor at Bolton yes doesn't mean he isn't a good player. And defensively he is already 10 levels above Tav. My point is play him in RB and that problem area we have had since Warbs times will be much better. It's simple.

      Martin, each to their own and yes Tav has stood up for pens, but for every time you tell me he's stood up and been counted I can tell you another 2 or 3 where he has let us down. It's not a new thing. it's constant. Every old firm game, Hibs cup final and Sunday are just examples of where he forgets how to cross the ball, gets lost defensively. I am not a Tav hater and when he is on form(always against smaller teams) he can be devestating in attack. For me I would much prefer to see Tav sitting in right mid or right wing as he seems natural to those positions and deffo not as captain. We need a leader who stands up in the big games and leads by example. Too many of the big games Tav becomes ordinary and is one of the players most liable to make mistakes…that's not a captain for me. Each to their own mate but as I said already, I have watched Rangers for over 40 years and Tav is one of the worst, possibly the very worst defensive RB we have had! And also one of the worst captains for reasons I have stated. Flanagan RB with Tav in front for me would be much stronger defensively and in attack. Tav would get to do what he does best from a higher position instead of right now where he is effectively always caught between two positions. I don't think he has improved as you mention. I think he gets covered more by better defenders when he goes awol. Further forward and relieved of the pressure of captain then we would see the best from him! WATP

    • Not got a problem with your opinion William and some of your points stand true. This is an evolving team from Warburton through Pedro etc and for Tav it's been a difficult road and he has gotten plenty of stick from the fans. All the managers seem to appreciate him and under Gerrard I do think he has improved in defence as the team in general has done. 13 goals lost in 22 games isnt too bad unfortunately we are not taking our chances at the moment. The Motherwell game Tav was sloppy for sure other than that he's been quite solid. To play in Villarreal was no small feet and he got through that. Not one player to blame for bottling big games. This team has no winners in it , no experience of winning titles/cups so the monkey is well and truly stuck to our back. Managers like their fullbacks to be attacking nowadays and I think his contribution outways his downfalls . He does have bottle and I respect him for that. The old firm games need to be blamed on the managers , the tactics are suicidal TBF. Sit as deep as possible and punt it up the park. Constant pressure and no possession, until that changes we need to judge the team as a team as we could go through every player in the big games and throttle them. As Captain he has led us as far through Europe than any of us thought was possible. It's been a funny season so far and it's still early yet. We may need to revisit this thread in the future , I hope am right 🙂 . All the best

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