As Rangers fans bemoaned a lack of a plan B in the drab draw with Livingston, Ibrox boss Steven Gerrard is only a week out from describing a 3-5-2 formation as an “option”.
Rangers have subtly tweaked their 4-3-2-1 formation from last year into a 4-2-3-1 but there remains a sentiment amongst Gers fans that using two defensive midfielders isn’t working against stubborn defences.
It was a feeling of déjà vu which has largely been alien to Rangers fans from pre-season until now and one they do not want to feel again in a hurry.
As the club heads into the match against Kilmarnock, the Ibrox boss will be expecting his charges to bounce back from the lacklustre Livingston showing.
But could a formation change and a change of system be long overdue when it comes to these tightly packed, risky matches?
Last week Steven Gerrard talked up the use of a 3-5-2 but we’ve only seen it once in his two- and a-bit years at Rangers, in that 2-2 draw with Motherwell in September 2018.
“There’s no doubt we’ve now got the option to go with three at the back. We’ve got four terrific centre-backs all at different stages of their career,” said Gerrard [Glasgow Times].
“Calvin Bassey is also capable of playing there as well so it’s definitely an option for us.
“Now that we’ve got more firepower in the door, it’s something that could be on my mind.
“It’s nice to have that option. We’ll take each challenge as it comes but if I feel it’s necessary or makes sense to play 3-5-2, I’ll have absolutely no doubts about doing it now.”
With Leon Balogun missing out against Livingston and the team in decent form up until then, Gerrard can be forgiven for not adopting such a system against the Lions.
With everyone fit, here’s what the change of formation could look like:
GK – Allan McGregor
CB – Connor Goldson
CB – Leon Balogun
CB – Filip Helander
RWB – James Tavernier
LWB – Borna Barisic
CM – Ryan Jack
CM – Joe Aribo
AM – Ryan Kent
ST – Alfredo Morelos
ST – Kemar Roofe
Given Rangers have looked solid defensively, you can also understand an unwillingness to amend the set-up too much and risk leaking goals.
But this change is more about freeing up those attacking players and overloading opposition penalty boxes with midfield runners and two strikers.
In the weeks ahead – and if uninventive performances as well as disappointing results continue – should the Gers gaffer gamble and put his money where his mouth is?