There was definitely a different feeling in the air last night after another painful performance this season under Steven Gerrard.
While there was still plenty of the ‘in Stevie we trust’ and ‘back the team’ rhetoric from fans, there were also the palpable beginnings of genuine frustration in both the team and the manager, after once again Rangers toiled in a match this season.
We of course are delighted to be top of the table, but it’s only by a single point from Hibs and Hearts, and if Celtic had their act together the draw and loss Rangers have had in the league would have been a tonne more costly.
Our performances this campaign are literally diabolical. Let’s make no bones about that. There’s no spark, no life, no guts, no heart and far too many players are miles off the pace.
And then there’s our manager’s increasing arrogance, delusion, and evident stubbornness – everything we used to have concerns with pre-55 about Stevie is being thrown to the front again as performances keep dipping.
So many fans are coming out with ‘I am Tav’s biggest backer but…’ or ‘I love Stevie but he needs to…’. It’s backhanded support, borne of dwindling patience, and much of it is down to the manager’s inability to choose players based on form.
The first thing we noticed in the team sheet was ‘Niko Katic Syndrome’ as the sparklingly in-form John Lundstram was benched entirely to make way for Steven Davis’ return. Davis has struggled this season, and while he did ‘ok’ last night ‘ok’ isn’t good enough at this level. Just like the Croat, a player in form is dumped to make way for someone the manager just prefers.
Or was he benched to accommodate the hopelessly out-of-his depth Juninho Bacuna? The ex-Huddersfield man had a horror starting debut and looked deeply lost. He had thigh strapping when he came off which he either picked up in the warm up or was just a bit of a front to try to put a face on a truly bad display.
But whatever the truth of this overall team display, it was abject.
There was a bit of possession, yes, and for the first 15 minutes some energy too, but it faded, and once again Rangers were struggling to catch up and can count themselves incredibly lucky to only have lost by a single goal.
Prague were not spectacular, with Slavia being far more impressive, but they were still far too good for the visitors and deserved a tonne more than 1-0.
There’s something very wrong at Ibrox these days, and whether it’s a malaise in the squad or a manager out of ideas we’re not sure, but we need it to right itself soon.
This weekend is now colossal. Unbeaten Hibs come to Ibrox in a top of the table clash and anything less than 100% from the home side isn’t enough.
We’re now into October and Rangers’ season is still miles off the kick start it needs.
With every passing match it fails to initialise in, the hordes get more and more restless.
Over to you Stevie, that’s why you get paid the big bucks.