Saturday’s win over Dundee United was as convincing as it was costly, and while we’ve had a look at what it’s set us back, we also want to look at why it’s set us back.
Before going into this match, Rangers were already down at least four men, potentially six including Itten (an unused sub) and Defoe (not even included in the squad).
Those four, of course, are Allan McGregor (knee), Nikola Katic (ACL), Jordan Jones (quad) and Joe Aribo (ankle).
Sadly, on Saturday they were joined by Leon Balogun (quad), Ryan Jack (calf), Brandon Barker (hamstring) and Alfredo Morelos (severe bruising and unknown injury caused by studs-deep assault).
In short, Rangers are down potentially around nine or 10 players, all very suddenly, and it’s more than a touch distressing to see a healthy 24+ man squad slaughtered to potentially just 15+.
There we were regaling you some days ago about how close to full fitness this squad was, and now, fast forward 72 hours and it’s become one of the worst and most sudden injury crises we’ve had since close to the Dick Advocaat days.
Questions have to be asked why so many have fallen like flies, and so dramatically.
The only one of all them that we can attribute to a bad challenge etc was Morelos. The rest are all down to either no one touching them and they just collapsed, or a knock in training.
It’s astonishing, and disappointing at best – and Stevie has confirmed emergency backup will be required in the transfer market.
We just do not know why we’re having these issues all of a sudden, but it harks back to Jordan Rossiter and Graham Dorrans again.
Both of these two were torrential injury blights while at Ibrox. As soon as they’ve left, not a single bump or bruise on either of them.
It’s an issue we’ve had for a long time, and while we’re not questioning the medical staff’s competence or the quality of the facilities at Auchenhowie, perhaps something is wrong with the ‘method’ on these players for so many to have unprovoked injuries.
There are, of course, mitigating circumstances:
Ryan Jack has had a calf issue for years. It’s an ongoing management issue and he has to deal with it.
Leon Balogun had injury troubles before he came to Rangers, bad ones, and was a constant menace to the treatment table at Wigan.
Brandon Barker also had a tonne of absences at City, and we warned about how injured he got before we signed him.
But overall, all these cases are very sudden – even Niko’s was an innocuous incident in training in itself and it’s put him out for up till next year, although at least his recovery is going well.
It’s come at a time when the deputies in the squad are stepping in, and stepping up, and in most of these positions we’re fairly covered. The problem is the options on the bench are starting to thin when the bench options themselves are having to be used to deputise.
Whatever is going on at Auchenhowie, perhaps a change in strategy is needed to conserve more players.
Because the past few weeks it’s just been a complete domino trail of injuries.