“We have to question” – a sore one for Steven Gerrard

“We have to question” – a sore one for Steven Gerrard

After all the hope, expectation and good feeling about the positives from Ibrox in the past month, once again today Rangers’ frailties were badly exposed and needless points dropped in the pursuit of 55.

The frustration fans will be feeling right now at such a missed opportunity will be as bad for you reading as it is for us at the site, and while James Tavernier’s inept defending once again cost us, by no means was the captain the only one at fault on a horrible afternoon in which the home side was completely up for it while the visiting side was disturbingly guilty of complacency.

Make no mistake, this was a systemic failure prolific from management to squad, in which very few escape criticism.

And yet, funnily enough we wouldn’t even accuse our players of not trying hard enough – there was definitely no lack of effort and few in a blue shirt genuinely hid.

But from Tavernier and Goldson’s hapless defending, to McGregor’s uncharacteristically poor decision making, to the error-strewn midfield (that did improve) and the meek attack, the players on the pitch just didn’t have the quality on the day to show why they’re champions-elect.

Now, let’s not completely overreact – Celtic also dropped points in the last match day – that’s what led to Rangers being top. So this is not an ailment unique to Rangers only. Celtic have been poor this season, and that’s given Rangers an opportunity we maybe didn’t previously have.

But this was an afternoon we absolutely had to take advantage of, especially given Celtic’s statement on Saturday and the fact we were against second-bottom Hearts, and in no way did our previously-buoyant team produce the performance it was expected to.

We also can’t take any credit away from Hearts – for 40 minutes they were up for the fight and played their best football for months. Ikpeazu was an absolute menace and destroyed our defence, while their own looked completely untested as Rangers just couldn’t string a pass together.

Tavernier especially gave the ball away more times than we could count and didn’t manage a single decent cross on the day. But the whole XI was disjointed – from start to end.

Even though we could say there was some improvement after the break, the fact we were 1-1 and didn’t even come close to a winner gives some idea how toothless this Rangers team was.

Arfield jaded, Morelos frustrated, Ojo ineffective.

This was a real punch to the gut following such a good run after the Old Firm, but this felt like that Old Firm performance again.

Hearts definitely took the match to Rangers, Morelos’ equaliser being against the run of play and Rangers only managed a solitary shot on target the whole 90, giving some idea how little Castro Pereira had to do in the Gorgie sticks.

But Rangers, despite Morelos’ goal, didn’t truly respond – didn’t grab this game, didn’t seize it from a spunky home side and bestride the pitch like colossi who believe they can win the title.

Instead the game died, and faded with a whimper.

This was a sore one – but Celtic will drop more points too this season. Of that you can be sure. But worryingly Rangers’ spell at the summit only lasted two weeks thanks to the international break, and while we do still believe in this club and this regime (it doesn’t all change in 90 minutes) we have to question the same little mistakes which keep costing it now and again.

Wounds to lick, lessons to learn.

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  1. We should also point out that the selection of certain players who were away on international duty was not a smart move. Not all but some. Prime example, Arfield. He's not had much of a summer off. He plays for Canada and runs himself into the ground for a famous win over the USA for the first time in 30 years. This involved long haul flights and jet lag yet he starts the game and looks jaded as you say. Whats the point of having a big squad if we cant rotate when appropriate? Yet again Tav will be defended for his weaknesses under the banner of the whole team being bad today. Shall i take a wild guess as to what Gerrards solution will be? I guarantee as a result of today Katic will be scapegoated to the bench against Porto as per usual, replaced by Helander, while captain marvelous and Goldmember keep their places and we will get absolutely roasted. I will laugh if Tav screws up against Porto aswell as Gerrards position will become very uncomfortable if he isnt dropped. No man is bigger than the team but Gerrards blind and misplaced faith in one of the worst defensive RB i have ever seen in blue is going to lose us everything. Over reaction? Not really. Just sick and tired of the same old same old that never gets addressed. Pathetic

  2. While their champions elect, come on man, even after today I've seen pages see oh December old firm will be cracker, we're not good enough to be past next match, we were lucky too get 3 points today, it's more down to rangers always playing rank after an international break, they either seek out a rotten 1-0, 0-1, draw or a loss, that's what had me worried and it happens no matter who it is, they just never seem at after a break!

  3. Maybe if we didn't make so much of a big deal about going top it wouldn't appear quite so bad when we get knocked off after one game. Let's face it there will be twists and turns to come. Get used to it.
    Next 4 games are home to Motherwell and away to Ross Co, Livingston and Hamilton and we should expect no less than 4 wins. If we do we'd be 11 wins, one draw and one loss from 13 games. It would be very harsh to criticise such a start to a season.

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