Jon Flanagan is really a mixed figure amongst the Rangers support, and a mixed performer on the field too.
In one moment, the combative full back can fly into (and win) an important challenge. Then dust himself off and carry on like nothing has happened.
In the next, he has the ball at his feet and it seems like he thinks he’s Marcelo. What was he thinking with that ball into Ejaria?
It wasn’t just that, particularly in the first half Spartak Moscow targeted the full back. He was clearly seen as the weak line in this Rangers backline. That came to fruition with the equalising goal, he put the team under needless pressure when he should’ve been looking for Row Z.
Not that that rest of the defence covered themselves in glory. I’ve not seen a shakier Connor Goldson performance yet. James Tavernier didn’t have the bite or the battle to challenge the Russians.
The clumsy Katic could’ve gave away a penalty and despite trying hard, defended just like the rest. He looks low on confidence.
But there’s no doubt in my mind Andy Halliday would’ve scooped that ball forty yards up the pitch when we were under pressure. Whether he or Flanagan got the nod was one of the big calls pre-match.
Flanagan consistently makes wrong decision on the ball
Jon Flanagan isn’t a bad player. Like I said, there are elements to his play which are endearing and which really make him a useful asset to the squad.
But this “old-style British full-back” patter doesn’t wash when you’re constantly trying to get on the ball and play adventurous passes. Flanagan consistently makes the wrong decision with the ball at his feet. He consistently choses the wrong pass.
Perhaps it’s a symptom of cutting inside when on the left. Perhaps he thinks he’s a better ball player than he is. But either way, too often the righ-turned-left-back is making the wrong choice.
Gerrard himself had a couple of choices to make tonight.
Middleton or Grezda, which he got right.
Flanagan or Halliday, which he got wrong.