Rangers reaction: alarm bells for van Bronckhorst; Allan McGregor avoids total humiliation; Aaron Ramsey needed sooner rather than later


If Giovanni van Bronckhorst won over and enjoyed an extensive honeymoon spell as manager of the Ibrox club, with seven wins from his first seven league games in charge, it is surely over.

Van Bronckhorst’s unbeaten start to life as successor to Steven Gerrard was always going to come to an end at some point.

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But the manner of his first defeat and the identity of the opponents who inflicted it in such devastating style means the Dutch manager is suddenly the subject of intense and unrelenting scrutiny from the Rangers support.

Joe Aribo’s body language tells the story of Rangers’ abject display in their 3-0 loss against Celtic. (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group)

If concerns were raised about points lost in unconvincing away draws at Aberdeen and Ross County on both sides of a laborious home win over Livingston, the first half skewered at Celtic Park on Wednesday night has really set off alarm bells. all volume.

defensive problems

Just as they had been in the 3-3 draw at Dingwall four days earlier, Rangers were all over the back against a vibrant Celtic side who attacked them in full force from the first whistle.

Unlike County, though, Allan McGregor can’t be blamed this time around. Which was just as well for van Bronckhorst, but for the 40-year-old goalkeeper’s heroism, it’s no exaggeration to say Rangers could have found themselves down 6-0 at halftime.

Scott Arfield (left) and James Tavernier exchange words after Rangers conceded the second goal in their 3-0 defeat at Celtic Park. (Photo by Rob Casey/SNS Group)

The 3-0 lead Celtic forged was bad enough from van Bronckhorst’s perspective and while Ange Postecoglou’s side deserve all the praise they are getting for the relentless pace and fluidity of their attacking play in that first half , the four Rangers defensemen were maneuvered too easily. Out of shape.

They were especially exposed in the wing areas, where captain James Tavernier battled Jota on the right and Borna Barisic was constantly caught at their heels on the left.

There was more stability in the second half when Leon Balogun replaced Barisic, with Calvin Bassey switched to left-back, but at that point Celtic were content to run the game more conservatively.

An injection of creativity is required

Rangers’ game-changers in midfield and attack were miserably off the pace. Joe Aribo deserves all the praise this season, but the Nigerian international was unable to impose himself on the game in any meaningful way.

Ryan Kent never stopped trying to grab the ball and make something happen, but he was overpowered by Celtic’s standout right-back Josip Juranovic.

Manchester United winger on loan Amad Diallo was comfortably contained by Greg Taylor and it was no surprise when he was replaced at half-time.

The addition of Ryan Jack significantly improved the Rangers in the second half, albeit in circumstances where it would simply have been impossible for them to be any worse off than they were before the break.

If Jack can get fit enough to start regularly after his injury struggles, it will certainly enhance the Rangers’ efforts to get their title defense back on track.

But they also need the ‘X’ factor they hope big signing Aaron Ramsey, who watched from the directors’ box at Celtic Park, can provide. With this evidence, the first appearance of the Welsh star cannot come too soon.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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