With all the talk off the pitch, it’s not that what is to blame for the loss to Livingston. It was one of those days where everything went wrong on the same day. From back to front, it wasn’t good enough. Frankly, Rangers didn’t deserve anything from the game and 1-0 flattered us on the balance of play. That said there are a few things I would like to touch on in more depth:
Rangers give ‘physical’ teams far too much respect
I believe this is becoming a recurring theme. And I understand it to a degree, however, it really has to stop. Rewind to the Motherwell match, Gerrard changed his whole shape and style to combat Motherwell’s physical approach. In the end, it cost the team two points.
Fast-forward to Livingston, he does the same thing. Gives Livingston far too much respect, includes Lafferty in the line-up for his height at set-plays and again, we get caught up in playing their game rather than doing what we are good at. We ended up resorting to cross balls, which Livingston’s back three could handle then we ran out of ideas and started punting high hopeful balls into the box.
Rangers should be playing their own game. Instead, we let a side who, let’s be honest, are inferior to us play the game they want to play. If Motherwell was a wake-up call, I don’t know what this becomes.
Of course, Gerrard wants to pay teams respect, but this isn’t Villarreal, it’s Livingston. Forget about respect, play your own game and beat them. Twice this has happened now. It cannot happen again.
If the league is the priority why were certain key players left on the bench?
Steven Gerrard said post-Villarreal that the league was his priority, and whilst the squad should have more than enough to take care of Livingston, it left me puzzled in terms of the team selection. Ryan Kent has arguably been our best attacking player in recent weeks and he’s left on the bench, especially when we lacked any creative spark on the day. Secondly, Nikola Katic and Connor Goldson have built up a solid, dependable partnership in defence. Having said that then why do you drop someone who is good in the air, in both boxes, in what will be a tough away match? It’s crazy stuff and Gerrard should know better. It’s baffling; McGregor, Katic and Goldson have been the foundation that our team is built upon yet one of them is cast aside to give the third-choice a match, ridiculous.
Formations, what Formations?
Where to even start with this? Well, first half, to me it looked like Rangers had set up with the back four, three centrally in midfield, with Arfield playing left or centre but more central then left, Candeias wide right with Morelos and Lafferty playing off one another. It meant most of the time in that half, Borna Barisic had the whole left flank to himself. It was so lopsided and in keeping with the performance. Puzzling. Second half, it was more of an orthodox 4-4-2. But due to lack of service, Morelos and Lafferty were onto nothing, in truth.
There has been lots of chat that Morelos and Lafferty cannot work as a pairing. I think they can. But the rest of the side has to be set up in a way which helps that. Not any of this lopsided nonsense or the 4-4-2 hit and hope against Livingston. It was a terrible day at the office and this was just another frustrating facet of the day.
The away form in the league is becoming a thing
It’s a little like we’ve seen this movie before. We pass up the chance to win the third league game on the bounce and now we have two points from 12 in the league – two draws and two defeats. With games against Hamilton and St Mirren coming up away from home, we have to get two wins from them before the away day blues becomes a mental block for the players. The only way to turn it around is by winning games and we have to start at Hamilton. It’s not good enough, no matter how you try and dress it up.