Radio presenter Jim White believes that Rangers are suffering from a “mental block” which is undermining their Premiership title challenge and could continue to affect them beyond this season.
The Light Blues’ title prospects look increasingly bleak after Wednesday’s defeat at Kilmarnock saw them fall 10 points behind leaders Celtic, having been only two points adrift of the champions going into the winter break. Rangers have not been champions of Scotland since 2011 and, speaking on talkSPORT [via Daily Record], White does not see them adding to their 54 league titles any time soon.
He said: “This will remain the default position from now on. For almost a decade now, second best for Rangers. At what point does it become impossible, not just for a group of players, but a club to overcome that mental block that Rangers seem to have? Nobody can deny the good work Steven Gerrard has done, but questions will always remain as a player, he couldn’t get over the line in England. Has he got the ability or the mentality to achieve it at Rangers?
“They may have been on a different level as players, but the difference Neil Lennon has over Steven Gerrard is his winning mentality in Scotland and the know-how to get over the line when it comes to winning titles. The question is how is that going to change, when is it going to change and is it ever going to change? At the moment, I can’t see it changing, it’s as simple as that. Celtic can go on winning things as long as they want.”
White, a Rangers fan according to The Sun, make some valid points when saying that the Ibrox outfit’s mentality could preclude them from ending their title drought in the foreseeable future. Celtic have habitually claimed the crown over the last decade, winning the league every year since 2012 and on course to do so again this year, whereas Gerrard’s squad is lacking in players with title-winning experience. From the Light Blues’ 2011 Premiership-winning vintage, only Allan McGregor and Steven Davis are currently at the club.
As White points out, the manager has had his own share of unfulfilled title challenges, having never lifted the Premier League with Liverpool in his 17 seasons as a Reds player. The closest he came was three second-placed finishes, most painfully in 2014 when his slip led to a goal in a home defeat to Chelsea in a title run-in that saw the Anfield club overtaken by eventual victors Manchester City.
Gerrard lamented his team’s inability to handle the pressure after their defeat to Kilmarnock on Wednesday and their title challenge is indeed being undermined by such results. They have drawn and lost against bottom club Hearts this season and have also twice failed to beat Aberdeen. Celtic, by contrast, have only twice dropped points against teams other than Rangers, whose tendency to slip up against teams beneath them in the table shows a lack of consistency in comparison to their largely ruthless Glasgow rivals.
Has Steven Gerrard taken Rangers as far as he can?
Celtic look set to win a ninth successive title in a few weeks’ time and, as White has said, Rangers will only end their galling Premiership drought if they learn to adopt a cold-blooded champions’ mindset and consistently hoover up points against the league’s supposed lesser lights.
Rangers fans, what did you make of White’s damning verdict on the team’s mentality? Comment below with your views!
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