As much as Steven Gerrard and sections of the Rangers support will want to, blaming the referee is the wrong move after Sunday’s Old Firm defeat.
Willie Collum was at the centre of Old Firm drama once again at Celtic Park on Sunday. A controversial decision to allow Celtic to play on after a potential foul on Ryan Jack led to Olivier Ntcham’s goal. It would prove to be the only goal of the game as Rangers went down 1-0 at Celtic Park.
The Rangers manager then stated after the game that his side were done by a refereeing decision.
Whilst it remains a tough pill to swallow for many Rangers fans, that just isn’t the case. It didn’t help that Tom Rogic could’ve been penalised for catching Jack. But it’s certainly not something Gerrard or the club should be focusing on.
What’s more pertinent was how the Celtic man was able to stride 50 yards with the ball without an opposition challenge. Why did nobody track Ntcham’s run for the goal? What were both Scott Arfield and Ovie Ejaria doing when trying to defend it?
These are all aspects that could’ve been handled better by Rangers. But Gerrard’s approach to proceedings must be at the forefront.
Why Rangers allowed Celtic so much time and space on the ball will remain a mystery. That first 45 set the tone for the rest of the game, and Gerrard only has himself to blame for setting up so negatively.
The former Liverpool under-18s manager is new to football management. Errors have to be expected of him as he earns his stripes. But, focusing on Collum post-match and continuing to harp on about referees isn’t what’s required at this stage.
There were still positives from the game that Rangers as a whole can do with focusing on. The displays of both Connor Goldson and Nikola Katic were once again impressive. Allan McGregor in behind them put in a stunning display to keep the Gers in the game also.
Rangers had a lot more steel than they had previously against Celtic. Brendan Rodgers’ men hit the woodwork on four occasions, but none of them came from cutting Rangers open.
For now, Gerrard has to ponder what went wrong at Celtic Park. But that diagnosis should avoid blaming the referee.