Steven Gerrard claimed to have fixed Rangers’ roof while the sun was still shining, but it collapsed against Celtic – Fraser Wilson


It’s been nine months since Steven Gerrard got lyrical about fixing roofs while the sun was shining and not waiting for problems to show up.

The then Rangers manager, who stood before us like a champion to be fair, was talking about the anticipated arrivals of Scott Wright, Jack Simpson, Fashion Sakala and Nnamdi Ofoborh to bolster the ranks for his title defense.

It was a brilliant sound bite. Gerrard never lacked for his credit.

But perhaps it is for the best that the 55 delivery boss is now inspecting the boards at Aston Villa.

Because on Wednesday night that roof he was talking about at Ibrox looked like it was about to come crashing down against Rangers.

Surprised by a hurricane of intensity from a Celtic team fueled by a new manager with nine new signings in the starting XI compared to a Rangers side containing only one starter who was not part of last year’s title triumph.

Gerrard’s promise that “it’s always about fixing the roof when the sun is shining instead of waiting for problems to arise” has been reversed.

The truth of the matter is that Rangers’ recruitment over the last three windows hasn’t been good enough and at the moment it looks set to cost them their title and the £40m Champions League group stage place they accompanies.

That criticism may be premature in this winter version, especially after deadline day was missed with the arrival of Aaron Ramsey on loan.

Fair play until Deadline Day and Rangers at that point – it’s proper theater and Ramsey’s arrival is certainly box office.

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But will the Welsh wizard, widely seen as not fit enough to take the bench against Celtic, will be enough to transform Gio van Bronckhorst’s side for the 14-game showdown?

Place the recruit of the two rivals in the last two windows next to each other and you will get a picture.

For Celtic: Joe Hart, Liel Abada, Kyogo Furuhashi, Carl Starfelt, Josip Juranovic, Jota, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Liam Scales, Giorgios Giakoumakis, James McCarthy, Liam Shaw, Osaze Urhoghide, Daizen Maeda, Reo Hatate, Yosuke Ideguchi, Johnny Kenny, Matt O’Riley.

John Souttar won’t have any impact on Rangers this season

In Rangers: Fashion Sakala, Nnamdi Ofoborh, John Lundstram, Juninho Bacuna, Charlie McCann, Juan Alegria, James Sands, Amad Diallo, Mateusz Zukowski. And of course Ramsey.

Among those Ibrox acquisitions are three midfielders: one with deep pockets who hasn’t made an impact in six months at Govan, one who hasn’t kicked a ball due to an underlying health issue and one who was so bad he’s already been kicked out.

John Souttar will arrive in the summer.

How could they do it with him in light blue this weekend instead of maroon to help patch up a defense that has conceded more than half as many goals in the last three games as it did in 38 games last season?

Time will tell if failing to donate the half million to Hearts to bring in Souttar now was another mistake.

The Rangers’ signing record over the last four windows hasn’t been good enough.

This season they have been relying on the men who reached an all-time high last season and now find themselves suffering an untimely collective slump.

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The big problem is that there is no one on the reservation ready to step in and fill in gaps like the absence of Alfredo Morelos at Parkhead. And that is inexcusable.

Last year’s sensational title rise was fueled by men who had been in the building long before the season began: Allan McGregor, Steven Davis, James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Ryan Kent, Glen Kamara, Morelos.

Only one of them stepped up to the plate at Parkhead. And thank goodness McGregor was wearing orange.

Giorgos Giakoumakis was denied by Allan McGregor to keep the score low

Because that makes it totally accurate to say that in the first 45 minutes, Parkhead flopped hitting everyone in the blue, including the much-heralded Amad Diallo, who looked like a player who only has 16 pro appearances to his name.

All that said, there is only one point at the top. Fourteen games remain, including two more Old Firms.

For the first time in more than a decade, there appears to be a genuine race to the finish line.

The Rangers better hope that Ramsey’s arrival causes a dramatic increase in standards.

Otherwise, there will be very little sunlight when the roof repairs are done again in May.




www.dailyrecord.co.uk

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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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