Steven Gerrard’s first stint in senior management with Rangers is proving to be an incredibly tough challenge, as many predicted prior to the beginning of the season.
Football is full of immense highs and sobering lows, and unfortunately Rangers found themselves on the undesirable end of the emotional spectrum on Sunday afternoon as they crashed out of the Betfred Cup following a 1-0 defeat against Aberdeen.
The semi-final clash handed the Gers a mouthwatering opportunity to secure an Old Firm derby day final date against Celtic, but they were beaten after failing to find a moment of inspiration to break the deadlock before Lewis Ferguson delivered a knockout blow in the 79th minute.
It was a result which provided Gerrard with plenty of lessons to learn about the squad of players at his disposal, as frailties were once again exposed away from the comfort of Ibrox.
Rangers have enjoyed a string of fine results at home so far this season – a 3-1 victory over Rapid Vienna in the Europa League stands out as the most euphoric 90 minutes for the supporters – but their away form has left plenty to be desired.
Gerrard has led his side to just 1 away victory in the SPFL from 5 fixtures and his record in Europe makes for similar reading with 4 draws and 1 victory from 5 fixtures on the road.
The statistics certainly don’t lie: Rangers are bang average when they aren’t buoyed by the home crowd at Ibrox, but if Gerrard is going to succeed at the club then he needs to find a way to address this imbalance.
Rangers’ latest setback against Aberdeen served as a microcosm of the larger problem which is slowly beginning to emerge, and Gerrard’s biggest challenge perhaps suggests there is a naivety to his style which is holding the club back in their development.
Naturally, experience in management will help him to refine his approach depending on the location and magnitude of the fixture at hand.
But football is a sport characterised by impatience from the powers that be, and Gerrard may well fall victim to that fundamental characteristic if he fails to address Rangers’ away form by the end of the season,
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