IT WASN’T meant to be like this for Kris Boyd. Two games back at Rangers and barely a sniff of a chance, let alone a goal, a loss to their title rivals and a barrage of criticism.
But while strike partner Kenny Miller lambasted the service the Ibrox forwards were receiving, Boyd was happy to take full responsibility for their unconvincing start.
Rangers aren’t used to losing league games – their last was in April last year against Peterhead – but such is the way of things at Ibrox, that you are only ever one game away from a crisis. And make no mistake, a loss tonight at Falkirk in the Championship will make this a full-blown one.
After an unimpressive 2-1 extra time win against ten-man Hibs in the Petrofac Training Cup, Ally McCoist’s men lost 2-1 in their opening league game to Hearts at Ibrox. But what was perhaps most alarming for over 40,000 fans inside Ibrox was the almost complete lack of service for their two experienced “new” signings Boyd and Miller. They can now boast of five spells at the club between them, and it s doubtful if, in that time, they ever received so little in the way of opportunities.
Miller pointed out forcibly after the Hearts defeat that their players needed more creativity and more chances provided for Boyd, who is the all-time Premier League top scorer. His strike partner, though, was rather more inclined to dissect his own performance.
Boyd stressed: “I won’t sit here and criticise anyone for not creating chances because I know that I’ve not been doing my job to the best of my ability either. I’ll look myself in the mirror and ask if I’m doing enough before I criticise anyone else.
“There was a lot made of me and Kenny coming back to the club at the start of the season. I’ve always said I feel an Old Firm striker should be getting 20 or 25 goals a season and we’re under pressure to do that. If we don’t manage to do that then we’ve let the club down.
“For us, it’s a matter of getting into the positions to score. We’re saying a lot of chances haven’t been created but we could also do better to get into positions to score goals. It’s a matter of to go and show that at Falkirk. It doesn’t matter what’s happened in the past, it’s about what’s happening now. And at the end of the day, none of us have scored goals and we need tp start and hopefully against Falkirk.
“The standards set at this club and demands you put on yourself are to win games. If I don’t get 25 goals then I’ll have let myself and the club down. I’ve done that for numerous seasons now – I’ve gone in and scored goals. For me, it’s about scoring goals and quickly because I feel as if I can kick on and go on a run once I score one.
“I won’t criticise when I know I could do more. I was brought to this club to score goals. Kenny was signed to score goals. None of us have done that. The demands and the pressure will be there from the fans as we were signed with an expectation to score goals and we haven’t done it.”
Sunday’s defeat by Hearts turned the spotlight on McCoist as a manager and he received plenty of abuse from the home supporters unhappy with both the defeat and the way Rangers play football.
McCoist knows better than anyone about getting abuse from Rangers fans as his famous first unsuccessful season as a player at Ibrox would testify, but he has advised those supporters not to expect another stroll to the title.
Rangers’ won the League 1 crown by 39 points last season, but there were no Edinburgh teams, not to mention Falkirk, Livingston or Raith Rovers.
McCoist pointed out: “I think the majority of fans know it’s going to be a lot tougher. The teams we’re playing – the majority of them – are full-time. They’re better quality than the teams we’ve been playing in the last two seasons. That would indicate we’re not going to win the league by 39 points. The main objective is that we go into the top division at the first time of asking as champions.
“It’s a long journey, this particular season, it’s going to be a bumpy ride and we’d a bumpy ride on Sunday, we just need to smooth things over and get moving again. We’re extremely disappointed, but we don’t go crazy when we win and we don’t get too down when things don’t go our way. If you can treat victories and defeats with a similar level of sanity then you’ve got a chance.
“It’s a far more interesting and better league for everyone – yourselves, fans and ourselves. It’s potentially going to be a smashing league. There’s not the great gulf that there was in the last two leagues for us. It’s going to be a well talked-about league.
“Far better managers than me have had stick, it’s part of being a football supporter. You have to accept it, even though you might not always agree with it. It makes you stronger and more determined to get the job done. We need to get over the game, learn from the mistakes.”
Ian Black and Richard Foster are both likely to miss out after picking up knocks.
McCoist – who still hopes to add to his squad before the transfer deadline – is fully expecting a tough game from Peter Houston’s side.
He said: “Falkirk are a good side and they’ve a good manager in Housty. They’ll be really well drilled. They came back twice from being behind at Cowdenbeath and we’re expecting an equally tough game than we got in the cup last season, if not tougher.”