Games like this make me hate football. And it’s at the stage where I am utterly sick of this group of players and their tepid efforts in a Rangers shirt. I don’t think I stand alone in that regard.
It’s a bad day when two youth team debutants get named in the starting XI – and it’s not them that you worry about in terms of not being able to handle the game, it’s the squad of players who have let the manager(s), themselves, and the fans down on a weekly basis.
I actually thought we may have turned a corner with the draw at Parkhead and the win against Hamilton, but really I should not have been so naive. They were back to their usual half-heartedness at Rugby Park, drawing 0-0 with a team who had a host of injuries. We should have had two penalties for handball. I think Alan Muir left his contact lenses in the dressing room.
Our two best chances came courtesy of Joe Garner. He hit the bar with one header and forced a top-class save from Woodman with another, but apart than those handball shouts and the two efforts from Garner, there was nothing. No invention, no getting in behind Kille’s defence, no mixing it up and there was hardly a decent cross put into the box from open play all evening.
They played like a team who know they are all for the chop in the summer, and quite frankly I would not lose any sleep if any of them went tomorrow. Good, honest guys? Without a doubt. Rangers players? I think if anyone believes 95% of this current squad is good enough to take this club where it wants to go, then they are kidding themselves on.
The only positive and unfortunately, it’s getting to the stage when you are counting a clean sheet at Rugby Park as a positive, is the performance of the defence. I felt Myles Beerman played very well at left-back. He stood up to the challenge of Conor Sammon and looked very comfortable going forward. David Bates, after a few nervy touches early on, grew into the game and handled Kris Boyd very well and to be fair to him, he never put a foot wrong. Both of the youth team players can be happy with their performances.
Danny Wilson put in the kind of performance that we had been waiting for – he was leading in the middle of the defence and it was wonderful to see. He won almost every ball in the air and was solid all night. The question is: why can’t he be that commanding when he has Rob Kiernan playing alongside him? It’s one of life’s great mysteries. Maybe we will never know.
On to the negatives, and there are a lot but there is one in particular that has annoyed me for the vast majority of the season. Funnily enough, it’s not the lack of clear-cut chances or that we are not making enough from our set-pieces, it’s the Holt and Halliday double-act in midfield.
It has to be binned and never seen again. It’s absolutely rancid. For whatever reason, they cannot play together at this level. Whenever Halliday partners Holt, Holt seems to go missing, and Andy Halliday continually slows the game down, gets caught in possession and struts around like he’s some sort of 2017 version of Barry Ferguson. I will never question Halliday’s effort, but he’s just not good enough.
It’s no surprise that Holt’s best two performances this season – against Celtic a few weeks ago and against Hamilton in Pedro Caixinha’s first match – have come when Andy Halliday wasn’t in the side. That being said, I also have to point out Jason Holt is nowhere near good enough either.
These players were supposed to be playing to save their Rangers futures four weeks ago, but the only thing they are doing is making it easy for the new manager to tell them they are not needed next season.
It’s sad that we are in the month April and the manager has to talk about finding a winning mentality. It sums up this group of players, they are not winners, they are not fighters. I have no idea what they are. There is only a maximum of nine games to go to until this season ends and it simply cannot come quick enough.
12 points behind Aberdeen, just let that sink in. At this point, European football isn’t a given. They should go home and hang their heads in shame. It may not matter to them that we are not winning every week and are miles behind the top two in the league, but it matters to us, the fans.
I sincerely hope they manage to pull their fingers out and get some sort of victory against Aberdeen on Sunday, but I don’t think they have the stomach for it.