Rangers performance against Kilmarnock might have been turgid and terrible at times, but there’s no need to overreact. At least just yet.
The first half was as bad as we’ve played all season. Worse, on a sodden Halloween night, it was akin to some of the Ibrox horror shows we became used to under Pedro, Warburton and McCoist. Gerrard, with a new found eagerness to change things early, made the sub at half time that every punter in the stadium could see.
Jon Flanagan had a first half howler. There’s no use scapegoating anyone though. The entire team did. We were rank rotten from back to front.
We then struggled to break a stubborn Kilmarnock down in the second. It was tame. There was more urgency but just not enough creativity. We’ve scored only once in three matches, and we’ve hardly been good for that. Our subs also struggled to make an impact. Middelton was overawed by the expectancy placed on his young shoulders and Lafferty’s cameo was amongst the poorest from anyone this season. Jack did ok, but he was still not decisive nor creative enough in the final third.
No-one was. Not a single midfielder seemed to want the ball.
The referee too struggled to get a hold of the game. He made too many simple calls wrong. He let Killie away with murder in the last 10 minutes. There was also a couple of handball shouts. But let’s be honest, it would be indulgent to blame the match official.
All of that said, as the team amble through the rockiest patch of Gerrard’s tenure to date, it’s important not to lose the head. Even if the gluttonous schadenfreude of our rivals and some members of the media are convinced we should.
There is still time to steady the ship
Every team goes through a bad patch in the season. It’s how they deal with it that proves the worth of their gumption or the size of their gonads.
Rangers had a blistering start to the season and we’re still reaping the benefits. Namely in Europe.
Domestically, we have struggled to find any real rhythm. But so have all the teams, perhaps Hearts excluded. Kilmarnock aren’t second for no reason. This is a competitive league and these are competitive matches.
The feeling over the last few matches may have also been exaggerated in the press by the up-wind in the Eastend.
But If we harbour any ambitions at all of challenging Celtic and winning silverware, we must keep calm through these choppy waters. We’re only four points behind them. We’re eight off an injury ravaged Hearts.
We dominated the Kilmarnock match but the issues with the squad and staff were laid bare tonight. There was no real gameplan. The majority of our possession was spent between our two centre backs. We lacked urgency and creativity, and too many of those players bottled it after Gerrard’s calls to step up earlier in the week. These are fundamental issues that have to be addressed.
But we have to get behind the team whilst they are. In turn, Gerrard must take this steep leaning curve sharply and briskly and the squad must take responsibility for what happens on the pitch.
The next two months will make or break our season. We’ve a huge December coming up and it’s vital we go into it in good form.
Starting Saturday, we don’t just need to steady the ship, we need to start steering it back to dry land.