Gerrard brought in 15 new summer signings after joining Rangers in pre-season.
Of them, two have proven to be particularly frustrating purchases. More than anything, because of their obvious ability.
In Borna Barisic and Eros Grezda, Rangers looked to have signed two of the finest talents in the Croatian First Football League. Two full Eastern internationals who had formed a formidable partnership down the left with NK Osijek.
One Croatian, one Albanian. Both full internationals and players of quality.
So far, Rangers have yet to see the best of the duo. Even if they have seen flashes of what they’re capable of. Croat Barisic has a mean left foot and an industrious attitude. Albanian Grezda has pace backed up with dribbling ability and trickery.
But how do Rangers get them firing consistently? The answer is simple. They need to toughen up. Or risk blighting the early period of Gerrard’s tenure at Ibrox.
Summer signings still haven’t fully settled into style of game here
Both players seem to let the physical side of the game pass them by. This was evident for Barisic in last week’s win over Aberdeen. It was a match in which we seen the best and worst of the player in flashes.
In the first half the left back was as effective as ever going forward. But throughout the match he struggled to compete with Aberdeen’s physicality and the movement of the two widemen.
Consistent injuries mean he appears somewhat removed from the physical side too in fear of a premature return to the treatment table.
That’s why Gerrard started Halliday against Kilmarnock. The Rangers Manager wasn’t exactly happy when Barisic beat the ground against Helsinki either.
Eros Grezda – who has found himself almost perpetually injured at Ibrox – hasn’t featured at all this year, not even on the bench. You get the impression he requires strength conditioning before he’ll be fully capable of the fight at Ibrox, but he is obviously not fit enough for the first team yet. He was pictured in crutches at Rangers’ winter training camp in Tenerife.
Other than the 7-1 demolition of Motherwell, where Grezda scored two and assisted one, the player has cut a shy figure on the pitch.
These two summer signings cost the better part of £4-5m at the start of the season. There are clearly good players in there and we’d be foolish to write them off so early.
But if they’re to make the grade at Ibrox we need them to adapt to the physical side of Scottish football.