Rangers fans have raised questions about the form of Croatian international Borna Barisic after the Gers crashed out of the Champions League to Malmo.
The 28-year-old was a key performer for the Gers last season but this campaign hasn’t got off to the same start as the ex-NK Osijek captain toils for form and fitness.
An injury sustained whilst going into Euro 2020 appears to have had a lingering impact and the left-back hasn’t been the same presence for Rangers in the early part of this season.
This also comes after deputy left-back Calvin Bassey enjoyed a promising pre-season, leaving plenty wondering why the management is persisting with a clearly off the pace Borna.
Supporters took to Twitter after the calamitous 2-1 defeat to the 10-men of Malmo to ask the question of the Croat, whose defending, crossing and energy aren’t at the levels required:
Well that was one big anticlimax, fans played their part as asked but too many players didn’t. Barisic looks crocked to me, just doesn’t look fit and Kent is way way off form…
— taximan2002 (@taximan2002) August 10, 2021
I'd be thinking about playing Bassey/Patterson in that back line now. Neither Tav or Barisic have impressed in the last 3 games. With players chomping at the bit, surely you can't reward poor performances with a place in the team?
— Kieran (@KMCL96) August 10, 2021
When Barisic plays like he has then I think we'll struggle at the kind of price if seen quoted for him.
Has looked every bit the player who warmed a bench at the Euros whilst an 18 year old centre half took his place.
— Scott Middler (@scott_middler) August 11, 2021
Borna Barisic really was a problem tonight. The manager has to recognise when the guy doesn’t have the fitness for even an hour.
— Rupert DeBoer (@RupertDeBoer) August 10, 2021
Team has become complacent. 2nd half display against 10 men is a disgrace. Barisic is nowhere near fit. We need to get it sorted and fast. Up at 6 for work and raging 🤣 cheers Rangers
— Gary Haugh (@GaryHaugh) August 10, 2021
Barisic miles off it, tav questionable, goldson shocking for the 2nd goal completely lack of intensity off the ball and then there is the lack of cutting edge at the front end. Serious questions need to be asked about the standards drop off
— 𝓑𝓕5 𝓛𝓸𝔂𝓪𝓵 🇬🇧 (@1872Daz) August 10, 2021
Dog dog awful. barisic and Tav where horrific
— marshall thomson (@marsht899) August 10, 2021
Barisic had a troublesome period when he first arrived in Scottish football and struggled to cope with the demands of Rangers.
Now the scrutiny is growing on the full-back who – in his own defence – does not look fit enough at present to properly contribute to the side.
Speaking after the game, Steven Gerrard also refused to criticise individuals when pressed on this in the post-match.
“Football when you concede a goal normally people look for individuals but I think as a team, defensively we haven’t been good enough,” said Gerrard [Rangers].
“We conceded two goals in the first leg and two in the second leg; when you concede four goals over two games you give yourself a huge mountain to climb.
“So I’m really disappointed we conceded four goals, we lost the second half two nil, but there’s no point pointing fingers at individuals.
“As a team, as a unit, we haven’t defended two restarts well enough and we had some poor situations last week and again at the weekend and we might need make some changes.”
The Ibrox defeat to Malmo FF is also made worse by an upset in the adjacent Champions League QR3 tie, meaning a favourable clash lay in wait in the Playoff.