Following the weekend win over Hearts, Rangers boss Steven Gerrard said that Greg Stewart had ‘given him something to think about’ with his brace [RangersTV].
Based on those comments, the poor form of others in the attacking right berth and Stewart’s outstanding performance against the Dons at Ibrox earlier in the season, we suggested he should start on Wednesday night at Pittodrie. Fans called for his inclusion, too.
Yet, he was left out, with the manager opting for the interchanging Aribo and Arfield combination instead.
It must be said that given how Rangers started the game, Gerrard’s initial selection call can’t really be criticised. His team were sharp, creative and utterly dominated possession. It was Arfield who grabbed the opener, too, with his first goal since August.
When things unravelled, it was a case of defensive lapses and not something that anyone could really claim would have went differently had Stewart been on the pitch.
Yet, after the Dons brought things level, Gerrard’s actions or lack thereof, betrayed an absence of trust in the ex-Birmingham City man.
He had a player at his disposal who had scored twice after coming off the bench just a matter of days earlier, but he opted not to use him. Instead, he brought on loanee Sheyi Ojo, a player who has regularly disappointed in front of goal in recent times.
It seems clear that Gerrard likes what Stewart can bring to comfortable fixtures at Ibrox, but that he simply doesn’t fancy him for the big games.
Therefore, despite the fact that he’s mostly impressed when he’s got a chance this season, as the League Cup final beckons, it now seems highly unlikely we’ll see the bluenose turn out at Hampden.
Earlier in the week on our YouTube Channel, we discussed the pros and cons of deploying Stewart more regularly.