Rangers: Ruthlessness required, but no need for panic after Hibernian draw – Andy Halliday – BBC News

Andy Halliday

Rangers will definitely feel that Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Hibernian was a missed opportunity.

Having not conceded a domestic goal heading into the weekend, they had earned a lot of deserved plaudits for their start to the season, but I don’t think we saw the real Rangers at Easter Road.

In the first half especially, they were disappointing. They had chances to win the game, but over the piece, it was a deserved point for Hibs.

Ruthlessness required

Rangers conceded their first domestic goals of the season in Leith, and spurned several opportunities to win the game at the other end. Two Martin Boyle deliveries were converted by Drey Wright and Christian Doidge for the home side.

Steven Gerrard has mentioned numerous times that he wants his team to be ruthless. At 2-1 up, Ryan Kent had a massive chance to make it 3-1, and you’d think a third goal would kill the game.

Not only that, but at 2-2, they have another huge chance with Scott Arfield. It was a superb double-save from Ofir Marciano, but those are big chances they need to convert.

They’ve deserved all the plaudits they’ve got this year defensively. They have not conceded goals, nor even looked like conceding goals. Hibs created more chances than Rangers have faced in the previous seven games combined.

Their goals in part were down to good Hibs play, but it was partly self-inflicted from Rangers too. They’ll feel they could have defended better, especially with both goals coming from cross-balls.

There certainly won’t be panic because the defending has been really good at the start of the season. It’s just more important than ever that they bounce back against Motherwell away. You don’t want one disappointing result to become a blip.

Do Rangers have title-winning mentality?

In March, Rangers captain James Tavernier was criticised for comments he made in a match programme before the club lost at home to Hamilton Academical amid a disappointing run of form. Tavernier said that “whenever anybody puts a bit of pressure on us in Scotland or gets in our face it seems to affect us too much”. It led to questions about the squad’s mettle in the title race, particularly compared with a Celtic side who seemed better equipped to handle adversity.

I know how much Tav leads by example on a day-to-day basis, on and off the pitch, so I think his comments were made in frustration. It doesn’t reflect how I felt in games.

There is always going to be pressure at big clubs, when you’ve got an expectation to win every single game. It’s important that within the dressing room they realise the bigger goal at the end is competing for the title, so they need to put that Hibs result behind them.

There were periods in my Rangers career where we didn’t get a result in a run of games and you can sense the confidence among the players is lower and the pressure and expectation among the fans is greater.

I’ve been part of Rangers teams where we’ve let people down – I don’t think by any means this team is the same. Every year under Steven Gerrard, Rangers have been improving and they’ve done so again this year.

Andy Halliday was speaking to Jamie Lyall for BBC Sport Scotland.

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