The “Ghost” of Gerrard

The “Ghost” of Gerrard
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Connor Goldson of Rangers reacts after a missed opportunity during the Premier Sports Cup semi-final match between Hibernian and Rangers at Hampden Park on November 21, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

When Gerrard left I went through the same emotions as many fellow fans, hurt, anger, shock, disbelief.  However, he made a decision which was right for him (time will tell) and we needed to move on and make the decision which was right for us. That horizon is Giovanni Van Bronckhorst.

However, I also worried about the Ghost of Gerrard, in that some players would want away and Gerrard returning in the January window and taking some of our best players south, while I felt we needed to hang onto as many as possible to get to 56 and that, all so important, Champions League pot.

After today, my position has changed. 

Firstly, I don’t think it’s fair to place the blame on the interim management team.  On that, at least, I agree with Goldson.  We have enough experienced players that should have been able to carry out the job today.  Where I will place some blame with the inexperienced dugout was the obviously panicked substitutions, one after another.  They had clearly run out of ideas so took the kitchen sink approach.  The previous sub barely had time to settle their way into the game before the next sub was made. 

However, two players who were slightly above the rest today were Arfield and Aribo who should never have been subbed.  Arfield has done himself no harm today, as Gio may not be aware of how sparingly he’s been played and he did look hungry and gave what he could.  Sadly, no-one had the guts to make the one glaring substitution which was needed at halftime.  Tav for Patterson.  We all know about Tav’s defensive frailties, but we excuse it because of what he offers going forward.  Today the armband saved him as it was clear the interim dugout team did not want to sub the Captain, despite one of his worst performances in the light blue.

Kent, another frustration, only because we know what he is capable of, but is not consistent enough and was an invisible man in the 2nd half.  Sure, he received the ball, but he couldn’t wait to get rid of it.  I never saw him take it and run at a man once in the 2nd half and, rarely in the 1st.  He looked disinterested and not all that bothered when he was subbed.  After hearing Goldsons interview, although we all knew something was wrong and we hadn’t touched the performances of last season, this was far worse than any of us thought.

This almost feels like our “Ferencvaros moment” when Lennon came out and basically said half of the players didn’t want to be there.  Goldson, taking no responsibility himself (which has been a theme over the years) blamed everyone else, but at least he was honest.  Reading between the lines, at least from Goldson’s point of view, there are issues between the players with feeling that some “don’t follow instruction,” “have lost hunger, spark” or gotten lazy.  We knew something was wrong, but not to this degree.

Gerrard didn’t walk away from Rangers, he ran, which says a lot about him. He knew about these issues and perhaps had run out of steam himself, but it’s clear now he didn’t know how to fix it, so jumped ship at the first opportunity.  

This now leaves a far larger task for Van Bronckhorst who felt he was coming into a winning team, more than probably a Cup Final and European Football. The Final is gone and the European tie on Thursday is a big ask for Van Bronckhorst as the reason we are in the must win position is still down to Gerrard and the teams poor performances in Europe and there may simply not be enough time to turn this around.  Now there are far tougher decisions to make. 

When Gerrard left I worried about the Ghost of Gerrard and him returning in January and luring some of our players to the PL.  I was anxious to hold onto as many of our current squad as possible, at least until summer. Surely this “relentless” unbeaten team of last season would be rejuvenated and hungry for 56, eager to impress their new boss?

Now I am not worried about the Ghost of Gerrard’s return.  I would welcome it.  But the sad fact is most are not good enough for the PL the way they are playing, at present.  To get a move like this you need to be playing well to attract the attention and fee such a move merits.  Gerrard is out to impress down there and will not take players who are underperforming, solely based on the history he has with them.  I felt we needed to hold onto Tav, Goldson, Kent, Aribo, Kamara, Morelos, the list goes on.  Now, not so. 

While I appreciate Goldsons brutal honesty today, as it blew the lid off of the obvious problems, it was brutal, and no Vice Captain of Rangers Football Club should ever come out and say a game is over at halftime.  This is not Rangers, No Surrender, attitude and it will be difficult for Goldson to come back from this interview.  The Ghost of Gerrard can take him.

There now needs to be major changes, within a limited budget and players will have to be sold in order to buy and ensure we have players who want to be there, are hungry, with spark and able to or want to follow instruction. A far larger task then we ever thought last week.  Gio, over to you………….

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  1. I agree with almost everything you have said in your morning articles however I thought Kent was trying to make things happen and that he appeared to be visibly frustrated at being subbed. Kent and Aribo and Arfield were all trying to make things happen. I feel for Kent because barasic looked like a less dynamic Steven O Donnell. Morelos was a joke and our illustrious leader spent most of the first half sulking. I can honestly say I have never seen Tav walking round like Morelos. In a game where you would have thought I’m going to show him why I’m captain it looked like he wanted to ensure Gio picks anyone but him. As much as I love Davis and big Al they have nothing left to give. Greegsy almost dived out of the way for the first 2 goals and I’m not sure but I don’t think Davis made a forward pass except when he was humping it forward to the uninterested Alf. What happened to Bacuna and Lundstrum. When we played Motherwell we looked dangerous from midfield. At 3-1 In the second half it was like hibs knew they didn’t need to go forward because we had already ran out of ideas and knew they could see the game out. As for the subs. What the actual fuck. Kent off aribo off arfield off. How did Morelos not get the boot or davis or Tav. Gio needs to work minor miracles over the next week or 2. Give players who actually want to play for the shirt a chance….. and Gio is also a big fan of youth…. If you’re good enough and all that. The only way is up?? I hope at least.

  2. Agree with some of the comments but overall a knee jerk reaction I for one would give youth a chance with mcrorey Patterson and Kelly given a sustained run in the team and and anchor the midfield with Jack and Kanara the mainstays and most important of all katic must be brought back in January as he is the only central defender we have who will attacjk the ball when it comes into our box

  3. I think Gio will struggle here big time,and i dont expect him to last long,he just doesnt have the x factor that SG has,i hope he proves me wrong,onwards

  4. We are all hurting bad . I have to agree I thought the spine of our team was weak yesterday. We have players that can step up and hopefully GVB will see them , Aribo, Jack , Hagi, Patterson Arfield Kamara Roofe Sakala and yes please a Katic recall . I’m sure GVB will have his European and other contacts working on as many loans, Bosman’s and hopefully purchases once we get some money in. We should only sell for a decent price to be decided by the board. Reality check here too folks, the rotten mob are not that good let’s be honest. The rest of the SPFL only play when they see the light blues. So GVB will know that , he also has a reputation to protect as well as delivering for Rangers.

  5. IN I think you are spot on. They way they are playing just now none of our players are good enough for the EPL. On their day and at their best there are probably about 7. But do these players want to succeed enough to be at that level? I don’t think they do.

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