Sunday, 17 February 2019

Assessment - Steven Gerrard & his Rangers


So it’s the day after the wreckage before, and while Rangers didn’t lose against St Johnstone, the draw very much felt like a loss.

This was a very tough one to take, not just because of how poorly our home side performed, but because the day earlier, against Roma, no less, our kids had just won an international trophy in a brutal dichotomy to the shambles their senior counterparts delivered against the might of St Johnstone.

Yes, Rangers were missing Alfredo Morelos and Allan McGregor, but there is absolutely no excuse for the XI who went out yesterday afternoon to produce that level of dross and who were lucky not to in fact lose to it.

Where do we begin with this horrific display?

Being philosophical, the grand picture isn’t too bad – we have beaten Celtic this season, majorly in part thanks to our manager, and we managed an excellent run in Europe too, with wins over Rapid and Osijek. On that level there’s colossal progress under Steven Gerrard compared with previous managers who could barely point Europe out on a map and for whom beating Celtic in 90 minutes was like climbing Everest.

So we are not going to absolutely lose the plot over one match.

However, there is absolutely no getting around the fact that domestically, Rangers are in pretty much exactly the same place as we were this time last season and the season before that.

That the £10M spent last summer hasn’t really put us into a much stronger domestic position than the £10M we spent the previous one. This is not to say all players have been wastes of money, no that is not the argument.

The argument is that despite the seemingly better players, the iconic manager, and despite that win over Celtic and run in Europe, we are not that much better off under Steven Gerrard in the league than we were under Mark Warburton or Pedro Caixinha, although the hard numbers do suggest otherwise, as we'll reveal later.

It also *feels* like we are, doesn’t it? We have more players we admire, and we have a patriarch legend in the hotseat – but the proof is in the league position and performances, and they are still very much in the 'patchy at best' stage.

A family member recently got in touch, and expressed how well they felt Gerrard was doing and how well Rangers were playing. We pointed out that we’re kind of miles behind Celtic and more or less level with Aberdeen and Killie, give or take fluctuating form now and then. Then the response was ‘but compared with this time last year’ – and sadly you’d have to point out we were miles behind Celtic and around level with Aberdeen and Killie.

It all does ‘feel’ that bit better, given the personnel and the management – but the overall results are not reflecting that feeling. Rangers are now likely eight points behind Celtic and we’re not into March yet – it is true that we do feel like we’ve maybe given them more of a fight, kind of, but then wasn’t it this time last year under Murty that we went on a stellar run and looked like we’d ignited the title race before March’s loss to Celtic at Ibrox knocked the stuffing out.

This time it’s going sideways – there never really was a convincing title race in the first place and while Celtic are no great shakes themselves, they are seven times champions and know how to win when it counts.

Rangers take the occasional flirt with a step forward, then one back – and ultimately despite all the morale from that win on the 29th, that win against Aberdeen recently – despite all of this, we’re not that far ahead of where we were on promotion.

There is some semblance of improvement – we’re an inch better off in second right now than we have been in recent seasons and the numbers you'll see later back that up, but ultimately it’s probably not the dramatic hike many of us would have hoped for.

And results like yesterday’s will continue to blot our copybook whether we like it or not.

19 comments:

  1. Assessment - failure

    St Johnstone result (cf Kilmarnock one) has happened before.

    January transfer window was a failure. SG made no change in to counter these glaring problems.

    We are no better than previous seasons except perhaps we are occasionally “glorious” failures. Losers nonetheless!

    SG is quoted on the BBC as saying

    "I hope this doesn't become a record because I'm sick of playing it."

    He is the record & sadly it is time for King to change.



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    1. WOW!!!

      Are you REALLY a Rangers supporter. If you are you really need to learn what being A Rangers supporter is all about. We should leave this sort of mentality from those in the East, ffs. Take a dose of reality.

      Delete
    2. Graham, I doubt it. Either a troll or someone who really doesn't get it

      Delete
  2. Because of our great run in Europe, we became carried away with our expectations, we can win the league, personally I thought if we can finish second, and close the gap would be a great achievement. New team, new manager, as they say Rome wasn't built in a day.

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  3. I cannot believe this drop, Gerrard for fucks sake has brought this club to
    a sense of belief again , remember the time and the biscuit barrel Celtic, well that's us now,stick with S G ,unless of course Ibrox Noise is going to invest millions lol ,ffs we went down the shit years ago thx to Murray and still paying the price

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  4. A moment for calm there's always hysteria after a game like this we are impatient fans. Let the dust settle. The starting 11 let us down... Now, Goals at that start of 2018;

    Beat Celtic
    3rd round of Europa anything else is a bonus
    Win a cup
    Finish a comfortable 2nd
    Close the gap to Celtic
    Improve home form at Ibrox for the ST holders.

    So far Gerrard is on track. I think your assessment is fair in part because we are only 3 points better off after 26 games played but we also went to shit after March last season and February was our best month whereas this February has been our worst. So assess after March and see if it's a different picture when we got batterings off Celtic. There's mitigating circumstances that stand out this season for me.

    1) Morelos indiscipline - Marmite Morelos. Love to hate with this wee guy. His Aberdeen 1st half performance was as good as any I've seen in a blue shirt. And his second as bad considering that it was indiscipline that has cost his team yet again. When Morelos is in the side we win 52% of our games. When we lose him it's a shocking 16%. 1 win in 6 and that was a 1-0 struggle at home against Hamilton. We lost out on a cup imo because of it. We are a 1 man team in terms of how we play and when that focal point is gone there's not a single player who can fill his boots. We never had this problem last season.

    2) Squad Strength - Is it any surprise when we are at full strength no one beats us. Kent, Arfield, Morelos injuries come at a cost and are replaced with inferior players. This is where recruitment comes in. So the 2nd transition will take place this Summer to perfect the squad. We knew it wasn't a one window fix surely? We knew this was not going to be a one season wonder - why all of a sudden the impatience? Jamie Murphys stats last season were incredible and we could have been doing with the guy when players haven't performed like Grezda who's a waste of money. Another reason that hasn't helped as he, Windass and Morelos were our cannons last year and their stats have not been replaced. A topic never discussed.

    3) The Number 10 - last season we had a number 10. Josh Windass. I did not like the boy but 17 goals is what he got last season. When we lose Arfield we don't have a single goal scoring midfielder and this is where I agree with you where we have went backwards. I was dissapointed not to see Greg Docherty recalled as he is our top goal scoring midfielder this season (English League One Par with lower league SPFL 5th-12th IMO)

    4) Progress - After seeing a 4-0, 5-0 and 5-1 last season we beat Celtic this season COMFORTABLY. After dropping out at the 1st round Q last season we achieved 14 million this one by Qualifying for EL. Killie/Aberdeen and it's a Scottish Cup Semi Final where we are better equipped than last to beat Celtic there (4-0 Hampden Horror). Ibrox form last season was 7 losses a Club record. One of the worst defences in our history has been improved with work still to do and attack also. This time last season it was;
    Played 26 - G.D 20 2018 3rd
    this season;
    Played 26 - G.D 35 2019 2nd

    You cannot say progress hasn't happened because quite simply the facts are there at least wait until the end of season to give an end of season review not FEBRUARY. We are the most impatient set of supporters there's no point showing every one where we are at this stage compared to last most areas have improved (bar league points improved by 3)

    I will stand by what I said at the START of the season. Celtic will win the league. Because their manager has built his squad with 28 million over 3 years and had a title winning squad. Give Gerrard 3 transfer windows before we jump to the whole 'he needs to go' routine.

    The league was out of reach at the Killie 2 1 defeat. Not yesterday.

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  5. Assessment - The best season we have had since before we were demoted to the 3rd division.

    Results and performances like yesterday also happened from time to time under Walter Smith, Dick Advocaat, Alex Mcleish I well remember when we were playing at home against Motherwell, when a win would have secured the league title. We lost 0-2 that day.

    So disappointing days happen, and of course they are frustrating. But days like yesterday have happened before, and will happen again.

    Part of the problem is that the last few years have been so bad, that Steven Gerrard was hailed as a god who would make everything better. And when we got off to such a good start in Europe, suddenly expectation levels went through the roof. We deluded ourselves into thinking this was getting close to the Rangers of old, despite the fact that we have an inexperienced manager and of our current players probably only Mcgregor and possibly Morelos would have got into the old Rangers squad.

    But we have progressed this season, and done better domestically and in Europe than in recent previous seasons. But it is a work-in-progress, and unless someone comes along and makes substantial funds available then it is unrealistic to expect that over the course of a season we can suddenly win the league.

    It will take time...unfortunately.

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  6. I would to add my perspectives if I may. We have more depth in the squad fact...We look fitter fact . Defoe can't play as a lone striker especially at Ibrox ..fact . Steven Davis needs games fact. Both Goldson and Worrall are too slow and mark the man rather than win the ball fact . Steven Gerrard has to stick with a base set up every game without an overhaul once Alfredo's not available fact....It's not moving forward anymore ...

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  7. Thank you Coco10, for a pretty accurate and welcome analysis. I agree with almost all of it. Exception being 3). I agree Windass was, like Morelos, a Marmite man. I said here last summer, where are his goals going to come from now? the answer has been, they won't.

    We have 2 main deficits, a lock picking number 10 and another quality striker. These are not easy to come by, but that is what we will be looking for this summer. If we can keep Kent, we are pretty well covered around the rest of the pitch. I know people will moan about others, be it Barisic or Tavernier, but I believe those are the crucial areas of weakness. I really like Docherty, but is he a lock picker? No. I think he drives forward and supports the attack, but I really believe he is better off where is for the rest of this season. How many games would he get for us ahead of Arfield and others?
    Murphy could fill the number 10 jersey when he returns, which would be a quick win, but given his age, we should still be looking for someone else unless we have someone in the unders.

    But in summary, we are doing well. SG will continue to make mistakes, but they will be fewer and further apart next season. that should be worth quite a few points. In hindsight, he will think Davis was a mistake, changing the team for Kilmarnock away after the OF was a mistake, sitting in at Parkhead was a mistake and there are several other teething errors which we have to hope he won't repeat. That will bring us closer. A further improvement in the squad this summer will bring us closer.
    In the end, the incremental improvements will add up to 55

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  8. WOW!!

    I just cant believe some of the ridiculous statements and the bile coming from some "rangers supporters".

    Gerrard has not moved Rangers forward - Really??

    Rangers are no better off than they were last year - Really??

    The problem with Rangers are some of the fans.... We got a good run in Europe, we at last had some players in the team that looked like they could achieve a lot, we beat Celtic.... All of a sudden we were going to win the League etc etc ad nauseum. That wasnt Gerrard or Rangers promising us that. THAT was what we as fans started to expect. We started to expect something that was both unfair expectations and highly improbable to happen in one season.

    Rangers fans need to get a grip on reality. Look at where we have come from. Look at what Gerrard is helping to build.... Did you not watch the Under 17's and see for yourself what is coming through.

    Gerrard has done well to bring us this far. Gerrard has helped bring in much needed money. He is on a 3 or 4 season project, ffs. Some of the calls from Rangers fans is ridiculous, the same Rangers fans who though Gerrard was the dogs bo***cks, when we beat Celtic and when we were on the European run.

    I look around Ibrox these days and see far to many "fair weather" Rangers supporters. Sorry am old school - "we'll support you ever more (F**k the score), we'll support you evermore".

    Some of us "older" Rangers know what its like to "follow, follow" Rangers when they had a crap team, no direction and lurched from one drama to the other, in front of a half filled stadium.

    We need to all get a grip, take a dose of reality and get behind SG and Rangers.

    Some of OUR supporters are starting to sound a lot like those from the "Nou Camp" ffs.

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    Replies
    1. So your solution to our issues is disagreeing with your fellow fans is they're pr*cks and they're all wrong ;)

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  9. No manager was going to come in and guarantee sucsess in the leauge the last few years 2nd has been out of our reach, if I remeber correctly Gerrards remit(in his first season) was to push Celtic get second do better in Europe and hopefully a cup,we are 5 points clear in second unless Killie win today in which case we are 5 points behind Celtic with two games to play against them IMO that is real progress.
    IMO we need a period of stability to allow us to build develop a team over a period of time... constantly changing manager is the worst thing we could do I was behind Warburton(on reflection not the man we needed) I was surprised by Pedro's appointment but supported him but tbh honest I was glad we got shot of him, I sat on the fence when Gerrard was appointed and at times I have been disappointed but but at other times 4 first time since the Exodus i have at times seen a real Rangers team unfortunatly we do not have the squad to hold these levels, I belive in Gerrard and in Mark Allen althought the signings of Davis and Defoe have IMO been expemsive mistakes they are better than Pena and Herrea

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  10. For me it's the disgrace of us still paying for the likes of Herrera and Dorrans and quite a few others, that has amazed me. I've seen more of Lord Lucan, than I have of Dorrans, lately. Wasted £££'s. Injuries, more than is usual. I never expected us to win this year, but players 'switching off' like that, cannot go un-checked.

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    Replies
    1. So we do what? Pay Dorrans contract up so he gets the money anyway? Sell him? Who to, when he is injured? We are not paying Herrera's wages, I don't think.

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  11. Thing is, while we have had improvement (domestically the recent wins and performances against our two main title challengers) we are still abysmal at times both as a team and individual players (one week great, one week crap)... which you have to put down to the coaching staff or just how far we have to go on the signing of new players. While it is not all doom and gloom it certainly feels like it after Saturday J

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  12. Assesment - No further forward, didn't expect to be. You can't keep making the same mistakes and expecting different results! When this board gets over it's obsessions with signing inexperienced managers then we will move forward. Where we are now our only option is to watch Celtic dominate and hope Gerrard is a quick enough learner over the next 2 seasons to catch up. WATP

    ReplyDelete

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