We thought we’d learned the lesson last year after the ‘fringe’ side put out to face St Mirren simply didn’t handle the occasion and was subjected to the sole defeat Rangers have had all season.
That lesson being always start your best available side, whatever the weather and whatever the pitch.
Stevie clearly believed the squad as a whole he’s built is of equal quality throughout and the deputies he can place to give first choices a rest are sufficient enough.
Bongani Zungu and Cedric Itten showed, for just two, that this isn’t the case.
Now, in Itten’s case, he gets a free pass. He actually had a half decent match yesterday, and just wasn’t helped by a complete lack of service.
But the Zungu start really was a massive gamble, and it backfired, and weakened Rangers desperately down the middle.
This is where we’d hoped the lessons of St Mirren had been learned – start your best team.
But no – it took a second farce with an XI a little off our best one to show we quite simply have no room for manoeuvre.
Rangers, absolutely, always, from now till the end of the season, cannot rest any of their best players, till that title is secured.
Yesterday proved the bench members just cannot replace the starters.
Or more to the point, there is a best group of players, and Bongani Zungu isn’t one of them.
We certainly don’t blame him alone, but the difference in the team’s play when Steven Davis came on and Zungu had departed (albeit he was replaced by Jack) was night and day.
So, surely, the manager knows now.
No resting, everyone has to be at their best and we cannot ‘chop and change’ at this stage of the season when 55 is riding on it.
As rotten as the players were, and they were, Gerrard’s selection was just as bad, and in his defence he held his hands up to that.
This mustn’t happen again.