Steven Gerrard experienced his first taste of the Old Firm derby on Sunday afternoon as his side suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat at Celtic Park thanks to a 62nd minute strike from Olivier Ntcham.
In truth the scoreline flattered the Gers on an afternoon in which they were second best in virtually every department.
The Hoops were rampant throughout proceedings and with a little helping hand from lady luck they could have been out of sight by half-time.
Gerrard was quick to point the finger at the referee in the aftermath of proceedings, but in truth his side didn’t deserve anything from the game against a vastly superior Celtic side.
Perhaps the main difference between the two teams was in central midfield where the eventual match winner Ntcham (valued at £2.7 million by Transfermarkt) dictated proceedings and enabled Celtic to mount wave after wave of attack with his extensive range of passing.
Rangers struggled to cope with his desire to get on the ball at every opportunity and they effectively game him the freedom of Celtic Park to roam into.
If the Gers are to bridge the gaping gulf in class between the two sides they will need to sign a midfield lynchpin who not only can provide the level of quality which Ntcham gives Celtic, but also ensure that the 22-year-old does not enjoy that level of space in future encounters between the Glasgow rivals.
The fact that Celtic managed to secure Ntcham for just £4.5 million from Manchester City proves there are bargains to be had, even in the current economic climate.
Rangers’ midfield trio of Ryan Jack, Scott Arfield and Ovie Ejaria worked diligently all afternoon long but between them they failed miserably to prevent Ntcham from single-handedly bossing the game, and if Gerrard wants to pull his side out of Celtic’s shadow he will need to add a player who can go toe-to-toe with their match winner.
Rangers fans – thoughts? Let us know below!