Monday, 12 November 2018

Has Steven Gerrard got controversial decision right?

We must admit after all the positivity of this morning and yesterday’s stunning result, making a slightly critical point does seem a bit counter-productive.

After all, we just horsed Motherwell 7-1 and frankly could and should have had more.

But we do have to raise the thorny subject of Nikola Katic again, and Steven Gerrard’s curious decision to partner him with Joe Worrall, after all expectations were that Gareth McAuley was set to be handed his debut.

While the two managed a clean sheet v Ayr, that was Ayr – this is an SPL Motherwell who’ve been known to give our defences a real doing of late, and why Stevie elected to go with two young defenders we’re at a loss for.

Our backline didn’t look particularly solid when it actually was tested, which wasn’t often, but we have to spare sympathy for Katic who was completely out of sorts again.

We do feel like he was unnecessarily removed from the first team originally, when in fine fettle, and now looks a complete shadow of his old self. He looks like the confidence and learning he had when originally given a run is now a distant memory and the way Ryan Bowman absolutely turned him like a ghost for Motherwell’s only goal was genuinely painful to watch.

We just don’t think that would have happened if he’d remained in the side – from that weak capitulation, to an early errant pass that went straight back to Motherwell in a vulnerable Rangers’ area, Katic hasn’t looked the same defender since he was dropped.

His displays v Hamilton, Spartak and now Motherwell looked like a player with all the self-assurance drained from him.

We don’t know what happened behind the scenes – we don’t know why Steven Gerrard decided to shove in a loan player over Katic, but it’s seemingly wrecked the Croat and that’s sad.

Gerrard’s decision to remove the ex-Slaven man at half time was extremely telling – the only other time we recall him doing that was Jon Flanagan’s nightmare against Kilmarnock.

Rangers have four defenders, and after his last three displays and yesterday’s introduction of McAuley, we suspect Katic won’t be regaining his regular shirt any time soon.

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