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Opinion: Why Glasgow Rangers struggle in the SPFL

Glasgow Rangers manager Steven Gerrard and his highly acclaimed coaches will have to wait another year to win silverware.

The manager has revealed that Connor Goldson was full of apologies in the Gers dressing room, as his schoolboy mistake enabled Hamilton to win 1-0 at Ibrox in midweek.

It was a disgraceful display from Rangers, as the Accies won for only the second time in 94 years in Glasgow; the fans booed the home side off the park.

That 1-0 loss on Wednesday night, coupled with the exit in the Scottish Cup to Hearts, has created doubt in the Rangers fans’ minds about talent and effort.

Gerrard is not far away from turning Rangers fortunes around, but he certainly knows he requires more time to do it. I hope he is given it.

It’s sometimes easier to play against Celtic and Europa League sides than it is to win away to Kilmarnock, Aberdeen, Motherwell or Hearts.

At Ibrox, the Scottish teams – apart from Celtic – come to frustrate the fans and the Rangers players with their overly defensive tactics.

This is not an excuse, it’s a fact. They know that the Light Blues are capable of tearing them to shreds, if they open up and try to win three points.

Over several years Aberdeen have been accused of saving their best efforts for the Gers ties, due to a hatred shared between the bitter rivals.

In the ‘Dons’ next game, they usually don’t win as they have given so much energy to stopping Rangers from playing and gaining any success. 

Gerrard has brought in footballers to compete for silverware.

The Rangers manager wants to play possession-style football from the back, through the midfield and on to his forward line, without giving the ball away cheaply.

It’s hugely successful in Europe against good quality sides, but sometimes fails when over;y robust Scottish teams play long punts up the park.

The average ball retention with Rangers is currently around the 67 per cent mark for most of their Ibrox SPFL matches.

The boss wants an abundance of players of high quality in his side. 

Alan McGregor, Borna Barisic, Ianis Hagi, Steve Davis, Joe Aribo, Ryan Kent, Ryan Jack, Jermain Defoe and Alfredo Morelos all have the required technical skills. 

Rangers take care to sign players with ability, but the one aspect missing from the team is a ball-winning, great tackler in the midfield holding position.

Should the Gers tutor George Edmundson or Ross McCrorie from within, or look to buy another player to fulfil the open vacancy for next season?

Edmundson and McCrorie are both physically imposing, enjoy challenging for the ball and can certainly take care of themselves.

Celtic have a huge money advantage compared the Ibrox club, making everything more difficult. That’s why Rangers look for bargains to sign.

Gerrard coaching Rangers could certainly make a big difference to new players coming to Scotland, to play his preferred style of football.

Defenders are a lower standard in Scotland than the English Premier League.

But, breaking down stubborn determined defences takes patience, especially those teams that treat the battle for points like it’s their cup final.

It usually takes something special to score against these sides, and most of the time Rangers successfully win. 

The problem becomes acute when an Ibrox player makes a stupid mistake, which causes a goal.

This represents a new challenge for players coming into the SPFL as they come under pressure to conjure up a magical moment to win the game.

In Europe it’s often easier for Kent, Aribo and Morelos to find more space, as teams attack and defend in equal measure. 

Next season could easily lead to Gerrard’s last, if Rangers don’t win a trophy.

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