Sunday’s win over Hamilton Accies showed that Steven Gerrard has to stop chopping and changing the Rangers defence.
The 4-1 win was less emphatic than the score-line suggests, with three goals coming in the final six minutes. Hamilton had given the Gers problems up until that point, despite Ryan Kent’s classy opener.
Steven Boyd’s goal couldn’t necessarily be stopped by the back-line. Granted, perhaps one of either Connor Goldson or Joe Worrall could’ve stepped out. Nobody can have a go at them, however, for allowing Boyd to have the shot.
Outside of that, however, the defence looked unusually uncomfortable together. Goldson and Nikola Katic earned rave reviews at the start of the season for a series of impressive displays that set the groundwork for Rangers’ storming start under Gerrard. The pair started the match at Hamilton, and looked highly unconvincing as a duo.
In recent weeks, Worrall has been seeing more and more game-time. He even came on late on in the second half to helps shore up the back-line. Whilst it’s clear that Gerrard is trying to form an understanding between his centre-backs, it isn’t having the desired effect.
The Katic concern
Katic, in particular, was a consistent worry as he often found himself overpowered by Mikel Miller. Perhaps this was something to do with the plastic surfact at Accies, or maybe perhaps it was to do with Katic only just returning from an injury.
We saw a similar shaky start to his Rangers career for Worrall. Despite a good performance in Villarreal, he looked highly unconvincing on domestic duty for a couple of weeks.
The constant shuffling of the back-line is leading to inconsistency and a lack of development in the partnerships. All good title-winning sides are built on a strong defence. At the moment, Rangers still seem to be looking for their best pairing back there.
Many will argue that Goldson imply has to be in the defence regardless. He looks by far Rangers’ most accomplished and all-round defender, and was decent at Hamilton.
Katic and Worall, however, still have their places in the side up for grabs. It’s now down to Gerrard, however, to actually appoint one as his number two centre-back. He may never even do so, but Rangers are clearly struggling for consistency in their defence.
As it stands, chopping and changing the back-line is helping nobody.