Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has told RangersTV that his side’s defeat to Kilmarnock and the overall poor start to 2020 is down to multiple issues which need resolving.

The Gers took a first-half lead at Rugby Park on Wednesday night through a rasping strike from Scott Arfield but conceded twice in the final 15 minutes to fall to a painful defeat.

Gerrard’s side are now ten points behind Celtic with a game in hand and although it’s still only in February, the title challenge looks to be in tatters.

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It was a hugely damaging night for Gerrard and Rangers at Kilmarnock. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“Very frustrated and disappointed right now,” he told RangersTV after the game. “I think we played reasonably well in the first half and got ourselves into a position where we wanted to be. But, unfortunately, we never went out as a group and handled the second half well enough.”

“Defensively, we were all over the place at times…I think over the course of the game, we probably got what we deserved.”

When posed the question, the manager refused to put poor recent form down to a single particular factor.

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“Look, I think it’s more than just one thing,” he continued. “I can’t stand here and say it’s just one issue we’ve got.”

“You look here tonight and we can’t handle a simple cross, we can’t clear our lines. Then the second goal, we can’t handle one direct ball and a flick-on. It seems to me that when teams really turn the heat up against us and put our backs against the wall, we’re not coping with that well enough.”

 

Verdict

It was another below-par performance from Rangers on Wednesday night, but after a shoddy start to 2020, it didn’t come as a great surprise.

After a defeat at Hearts and dropped points at home to Aberdeen, results appeared to be on the turn. There were wins over Hibernian and Hamilton, but in reality, neither were comfortable.

Hagi bailed out his new teammates against Hibs at Ibrox, while for well over an hour at the weekend, Accies were well in the contest.

Of course, defensively, it wasn’t good enough. There was a huge element of fortune about Killie’s first goal, but the second was schoolboy stuff from Katic and Goldson.

A late mistake from Goldson aided the Killie winner. (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

The midfield and attacking players need to take their share of the blame, too, though.

The Gers regularly bossed the midfield area before the winter break, but there was an absence of control again at Rugby Park, while a lack of movement and creativity in the final third ensured that it took a fantastic long-range strike from Arfield to get on the scoresheet.

With just one goal in his last six appearances, Morelos still doesn’t look himself, and while Hagi has the excuse of having to adapt to the demands of a new league, Ryan Kent needs to offer so much more.

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