While Rangers’ win yesterday was deeply welcome and showed a decent level of shooting in front of goal, the failings at the back cannot escape scrutiny and point to bigger problems down the line against sides of a stronger calibre than County.
Rangers’ defence has of course cost them a place in the CL already, plus 3 points at Tannadice, and it’s certainly an area of concern going forward.
Watching James Tavernier’s ineptitude at the back exposed as vigorously as it has been this season is painful to witness, and while the captain has slowly improved going forward (he was effective in that area yesterday) his failings as a defender compounded with Connor Goldson’s weaknesses to gift County a foolish and avoidable goal.
And Steven Gerrard’s loyalty to that pair is such a bone of contention with fans who believe in particular that Nathan Patterson should be given a shout, given the 19-year old’s superb displays at all levels for club and country, and Tavernier’s inconsistencies.
What should Gerrard do? Drop his talisman, his stalwart?
Rangers’ defence doesn’t just suffer Goldson and Tav, it’s also finding the rotation a problem too – Gerrard rotates between Balogun and Helander and that constant switch of partner isn’t helping. But then, he did the same thing last season too and the defence was effectively water tight, so it’s not just as simple as 2+2=4 here.
The backline is currently an Achilles heel, and isn’t functioning well at all. With Celtic to come not to mention that trip to Armenia, it’s only going to be tested further and more intensely.
It failed miserably against Malmo and Utd and hasn’t looked convincing, shipping 7 goals in 8 matches, which is already considerably worrying. Will Celtic be too strong up front, given they’re scoring for fun?
Maybe. We are certainly more worried about this Old Firm than any for some time.
But then maybe it’s the perfect time? A huge week coming up for Rangers, and if they can’t sort the defence out now, when will they.
Hopefully the answers lie in the next 7 days.