We’ve been filled with nothing but praise for Steven Gerrard this season. Pretty much everything he’s touched has turned to gold. So it’s not exactly with enthusiasm that we’re so damning about what happened last night.
But we’ve simply not got an answer as to why Nikola Katic, the best defender at the club, two seasons in a row, has been dropped late autumn in excellent form and replaced by an inferior player.
Last campaign of course it was the mediocre Joe Worrall, a loan signing who took Katic’s place and kept it till the split.
This time it’s £3M man Filip Helander who took a while to get a place, due to Katic’s form as confirmed by Gerrard, only to then inexplicably receive it while the Croat was in the form of his life.
We don’t know what the structure of Katic’s situation at Ibrox is, and he signed a five-year deal only some weeks ago so clearly he’s happy here.
But if anyone has a clear answer why, two seasons in a row, he’s been dumped to the bench despite playing brilliantly (especially this campaign) we’d love to hear it.
For the early part of the season Katic was colossal – without any doubt our best defender and from nowhere became a massive asset and was growing into our own Virgil Van Dijk.
He really was that good – it’s been so long since he played it’s easy to forget how strongly his light shone.
But then he was gone – dumped for Helander despite Gerrard saying his form was brilliant.
It’s inexplicable, it’s nonsensical, and it hasn’t benefited Rangers.
It’s easy to look at the GA column and say it’s not that bad, given we’ve only conceded one more than Celtic.
But the problem is it’s made the difference at key moments, like last night – a bunch of blunders from a useless backline persisted with by the manager, with Katic on the bench as per.
We can’t deny the stunning frustration we feel over this area of Gerrard’s management.
Answers on a postcard.