Rangers supporters have been pretty downbeat in recent times after seeing their side suffer a first Europa League group stage defeat of the season on Thursday night.
Steven Gerrard’s men went into their clash with Spartak Moscow having won one and drawn the other two of their opening three group stage games, which added to their qualification campaign meant they were 11 matches unbeaten in Europe prior to Thursday night. But the Gers’ fine run on the continent came to a disappointing end despite leading on three occasions in the Russian capital, eventually going down 4-3 to Spartak to slip to third place in Group G.
Thus, there have been many despondent Rangers fans up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are likely to be interested in recent comments from The Daily Record journalist Gary Ralston, who has blasted defender Jon Flanagan for his role in the Light Blues’ loss on Thursday night, stating that he ‘continues to toil’.
And with three of the four goals Rangers conceded on Thursday coming from the left-hand-side, as Ralston points out, he is absolutely right to dig out the former Liverpool star for his role in Rangers’ defeat.
Ultimately, former England international Flanagan made the move to Ibrox during the summer as Gerrard sought to overhaul his defensive options, what with the Gers shipping more goals than any other side in the top seven of the Scottish Premiership last season.
And the experienced Flanagan appeared a shrewd addition given he has excelled at times at Liverpool in the past, hence the one England cap to his name, and with 18 appearances to his name already this term, he’s clearly someone Gerrard wants in his side.
Yet the full back, a right back by trade, endured a torrid evening in the Russian capital on Thursday night – a combination of him and Glenn Middleton didn’t do enough to close down the cross for the opener, while Flanagan was left flat-footed while Spartak dissected the Rangers backline for their second.
Add in his inability to clear his lines, and then being unable to cut out what looked like a simple ball out wide to the winger, in the build-up to Spartak’s third, and it’s plainly obvious that the 25-year-old had an absolute nightmare at left back.
Yes, the defender was playing out of position, and has done so for much of the season so far, and his fine ball forward enabled the visitors to net their second, but for a player with his experience and defensive ability, it was a really poor performance, and one that certainly contributed to their defeat on Thursday night.
And while Ralston also highlighted the unconvincing displays of Nikola Katic and Connor Goldson, his criticism of Flanagan was certainly justified, as the defender certainly cost Gerrard’s side in the Europa League on Thursday night.
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