X

Wednesday 01
April

Rangers

Has Gerrard blown Rangers’ best chance of silverware?

13th February 2020, 19:23 by Dan McCarthy

Rangers looked like title favourites after their December win over Celtic but everything has unravelled since.

The Scottish league system is often derided by football supporters, particularly south of the border.

Sceptics see the league as a predictable monopoly, a battle for second place behind Celtic.

So when Steven Gerrard was appointed Rangers boss the beginning of the new season, some fans sat up.

Finally, it looked as though there would be a genuine fight for the title for the first time since the Gers’ financial meltdown in 2012 and subsequent demotion to the fourth tier of Scottish football.

As it happened, Rangers lacked consistency when it mattered and they ended the season nine points behind bitter rivals Celtic, who picked up their eighth consecutive Scottish Premiership title.

There were mitigating factors of course – Gerrard was embarking on his first senior managerial position in the epicentre of arguably the fiercest and most vitriolic rivalry in world football.

He had to rip apart the squad he inherited – following the ill-fated appointment of Pedro Caixinha and a caretaker stint of Graeme Murty, the squad was an imbalanced mess and needed inspiration.

In his first season, Gerrard steadied the ship with experienced heads such as Allan McGregor, Scott Arfield, Steven Davis, and Jermain Defoe.

He also used his bulging contact book to bring in some promising youngsters, such as Ryan Kent and Ovie Ejaria, while Jon Flanagan chose to try and reinvigorate his career at Ibrox.

Rangers didn’t win the title, but they scored five more goals than Celtic on their way to second and onlookers expected an even closer challenge this term.

The squad was strengthened again – Kent was bought on a permanent deal, Greg Stewart and Jordan Joins, who both starred in the division last season were brought in to bolster the attack, while Joe Aribo shunned reported Premier League and EFL offers to join from Charlton.

After their 2-1 victory at Celtic Park in December, Rangers were two points behind Celtic with a game in hand – the ball was in their court.

Sadly, the extended winter break did them no favour and in the last six games they have picked up just 10 points.

10 points out of a possible 18 would be respectable in most other leagues, but such is the two-horse-race nature of the division, it is somewhat a disaster.

Both their defeats in that run have been unforgivable – the first was a 2-1 reversal at Hearts, who were bottom oat the time having endured an awful season.

Rangers let a 1-0 lead slip and the same occurred on Wednesday at Kilmarnock, having been in front until the 77th minute.

The latter caused Gerrard to publicly berate his players, citing a lack of proper “mentality”.

Gerrard is the leader of the ship – if he is questioning the players’ mentality, then surely his own mentality must be questioned?

Rangers don’t look the like the same potent force they were at the beginning of the season. They have not scored more than two goals in a game since December, after regularly thumping opponents in the infancy of the season.

Fans have bemoaned his team selections, while his substitutions have a habit of coming too late in the game to have any real effect.

Injuries haven’t helped – Jermain Defoe is absent meaning the is no backup strike to the ever-enigmatic Alfredo Morelos, while Filip Helander is missing at the back.

However, now more than ever, Gerrard must stand up and be counted. He has must lead Rangers from the rut they are currently under. And, he must bring silverware to Ibrox. The fans have suffered long enough.

Otherwise, he will become the latest entry to the long list of “great players but not-so-great managers”.

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Dan McCarthy is a reporter who is very knowledgeable about football at all levels, and a keen Leeds United fan. He also follows darts, snooker, motorsport, and rugby league.

More Rangers

Rangers

Hutton impressed with Rangers youngster McCrorie

20th March 2020, 12:37

Former Scotland international Alan Hutton has been impressed with Rangers’ keeper Robby McCrorie and his attitude on his loan spell with Livingston.

Rangers

Rangers handed boost in hunt for Hearts star Ikpeazu

19th March 2020, 11:00

Rangers have had their hopes of landing Uche Ikpeazu boosted with the striker tipped to leave Hearts this summer.

Rangers

King vows to keep Rangers shares

18th March 2020, 06:35

Rangers chairman Dave King insists he has no plans to sell off his Ibrox shares, but will press ahead with plans for a share issue.

Rangers

Rangers boss Gerrard calls for patience

17th March 2020, 05:23

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has called for patience and says football is secondary during the coronavirus outbreak.

Rangers

Rangers keep tabs on Blackpool strike starlet

16th March 2020, 10:09

Rangers are among the clubs keeping tabs on Blackpool starlet Anthony Weston with a view to making a move for the striker.

Rangers

Rangers were focused despite Euro loss says Gerrard

13th March 2020, 03:59

Steven Gerrard refused to use the coronavirus panic as an excuse after Rangers were left staring at a Europa League exit.

Recent Sport Headlines

Horse Racing

Newmarket 'sensible' choice for racing return

31st March 2020, 16:41

Trainer Paul Tate says Newmarket could be the smart choice when it comes to selecting a venue for the return of horse racing.

Horse Racing

Henderson hopeful of Altior return to form

31st March 2020, 16:09

Trainer Nicky Henderson believes there are plenty more good days ahead for Altior despite a disappointing 2019-20 season.

Horse Racing

Mums Tipple set for Ascot trip

30th March 2020, 16:45

Trainer Richard Hannon has suggested Mums Tipple will be heading to Royal Ascot in June for a shot at the Commonwealth Cup.

Horse Racing

Randwick Championship Days reduce prize money

30th March 2020, 12:04

The scheduled Championship Days at Royal Randwick in Sydney next month will take place as it stands without spectators and for less prize money.

Burnley

Burnley duo Brady and Hendrick on Bruce’s Newcastle hit-list

29th March 2020, 18:47

Newcastle United are reportedly plotting to swoop for Burnley midfielders Robbie Brady and Jeff Hendrick on free transfers this summer.

Golf

Dougherty hopes to see majors in 2020

29th March 2020, 17:37

Former European Tour winner Nick Dougherty says the golf authorities must come together to find a way of playing all four majors.

Horse Racing

May 1 return pencilled in

29th March 2020, 17:27

The British Horseracing Authority has confirmed they hope to return to action on May 1 after putting together a plan of action.

Inter Milan

On-loan Nainggolan may need to take pay cut to secure Cagliari switch

29th March 2020, 17:15

Radja Nainggolan reportedly must face a wage decrease if he is to join Cagliari on a permanent basis from inter Milan.