Inconsistency Bites Rangers Again & It Could Stop Their Title Challenge

At the end of 2018, it all looked rosey in the Rangers garden.

The Ibrox side had just enjoyed their first victory over a Brendan Rodgers Celtic team and were joint top of the Scottish Premiership table heading into 2019.

Then the winter break happened and when the first team returned to action last night they started brightly, with new signing Jermain Defoe scoring in the early stages to give the side a 1-0 lead over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.

But instead of pressing home their advantage, Rangers would make silly errors and allow Killie to get back on level terms before half-time. The home side then looked the brighter in the second period, were more organised and took the lead just after the hour mark when another Gers mistake was pounced upon and Jordan Jones struck his drive beyond Allan McGregor.

Kilmarnock didn’t look flustered after that and managed to see out the win. In doing so they’ve now leapfrogged over Rangers into second place.

I’ve said in countless times in the past three seasons, unless Rangers put a consistent run of wins together they won’t finish in second place never mind top the league table. Celtic are the benchmark and they won last night, meaning they’ve got a three point lead or the Light Blues and also have a game in hand. Under Rodgers, the Hoops have been able to go on these winning runs that result in silverware.

Last night again showed Gers boss Steven Gerrard still has a lot to learn about football management, I think the Liverpool legend has done really well in Govan but he needs to correct his mistakes.

After the defeat, the Rangers manager told his club’s website that his team’s errors cost them the game:

“The gifts changed the game. We gifted Kilmarnock two big moments against us tonight and they were from our doing.”

While I agree with Gerrard up to a point, I also feel the manager needs to accept some of the responsibility as his team selection and formation didn’t help either.

I think it was a mistake to change his tactics and formation in such a big away game. It seemed like the Gers gaffer wanted to get Defoe and fellow veteran Steven Davis straight into the team. That meant playing with less width and ultimately less protection in midfield, with Daniel Candeias and Ross McCrorie dropping out of the starting eleven.

McCrorie worked a treat in the holding midfield position against Celtic and added bite in the engine room, Rangers needed more of that last night.

Experienced coach Steve Clarke worked out the Rangers set-up after twenty minutes or so and changed his Killie team accordingly. He made sure his team remained compact and organised, thus starving Ryan Kent of any room in the middle of the park. Gerrard struggled to counter that, as he lacked enough width within his line-up.

If you’ve found a winning formula and have a formation that’s effective, then keep it. Especially for the tight games away from home.

Is it time for Joe Worrall to drop out of the team?

Nikola Katic didn’t make the same amount of costly errors before he was bombed out of the starting eleven. For a wee while now, Rangers supporters have questioned loanee Worrall’s place in the team. That performance last night should see him coming out for a spell, in my opinion. His major mistake in Killie’s opener changed to outlook of the game as it swung the momentum back towards the home team.

As I’ve already said, Rangers will not challenge for the league title if they can’t put together a run of winning games and they’ll also have a major fight on their hands to finish in second spot. Consistency is usually the key to success and Steven Gerrard needs to learn that he can’t over think his starting line-ups and stop tinkering.


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