After a poor defeat at Celtic Park, Steven Gerrard needs to learn from his tactical naivety.
The Liverpool legend is new to senior football management, and on Sunday it finally showed. Gerrard hasn’t been able to do anything wrong since arriving at Ibrox. Europa League qualification has been secured, whilst the Gers were unbeaten heading into the first Old Firm of the season.
Everyone was wondering how he would set up at Celtic Park considering the football Rangers have played this season. But, in the end, supporters were extremely disappointed as they came away with a 1-0 defeat.
Olivier Ntcham got the only goal of the game in the second half. But it was the first 45 and even up until the goal that will have bemused supporters.
Rangers operated with both Kyle Lafferty and Alfredo Morelos up front. It looked a good move on paper, with many expecting only one to start. Yet it just didn’t work as the pair struggled to combine as Celtic strolled it.
Questions, however, must be asked of how deep Rangers sat in. Despite surviving the initial wave of Celtic dominance, Gerrard seemed happy to allow Celtic time on the ball with no high press.
The Ibrox men were lucky not to be a couple down by half-time. It wouldn’t have been undeserved given how poor Rangers were on the ball in the first half. Yet, Gerrard’s men got away with it heading into the second 45.
Even then, there wasn’t too much change in the way Rangers went about their business.
Why Borna Barisic wasn’t involved more throughout the 90 minutes was anyone’s guess. The Croatian was a spark down the left side, but barely got the opportunity to put good deliveries into the box.
Gerrard simply gave Celtic too much respect. Brendan Rodgers’ men do have quality players, but Gerrard failed to seize on the momentum built up in recent weeks.
Sitting deep against Celtic worked for Graeme Murty on two occasions at Parkhead. But asking for it to do so a third time was always going to be difficult.
Rangers play positive, attacking football every other week, and they should’ve done so once more at Parkhead. With Celtic suffering some set-backs in recent weeks, this was the chance for Gerrard to lay down a marker and show Celtic what his side could do.
He failed. With that, he now much learn from his own tactical naivety ahead of the next meeting at Ibrox in December.