LEE Wallace has called for collective responsibility at Rangers as they seek to respond quickly to Monday’s abject display in losing 3-1 at home to Hibs.
It left the Ibrox club six points behind pace-setters Hearts in the Championship title race and has intensified the pressure on manager Ally McCoist ahead of today’s trip to face Livingston.
But left-back Wallace insists the focus should not be solely on McCoist when it comes to identifying Rangers’ problems so far this season.
“The buck stops with the players first and foremost,” said Wallace. “It’s a collective thing between the players and management. Only a couple of times this season have we found that consistency we need and that’s been the disappointing thing for me.
“We wanted to make a mark as early as we could. We wanted to be sitting top of the league and we wanted to be the team everybody is talking about. It is still early in the season and that’s the only positive thing. We have certainly got time and we, as players, have to start doing better on the pitch.
“We have got to do a lot more as players. I look at the games we’ve played so far and aside from our win at Raith Rovers, and beating Inverness in the League Cup, there has been no consistency in our performances. We have to find that quickly or we are going to fall behind. We have to get started soon.
“You always want to rectify something like the Hibs defeat as quickly as possible. We’ve had the chance to look back at the video and we’ve had a long chat about it. We’ve looked at the goals and the performance but without even having to do that we know we have to do a lot better. We are now looking towards Livingston and trying to rectify what happened.
“I can’t put my finger on why it went wrong against Hibs. It just wasn’t good enough. We just can’t concede goals like that, it’s as simple as that.”
Such is the confidence in the Hearts ranks after their impressive start to the season, their players are already facing talk of going through the league campaign unbeaten. But Wallace has warned his former club such an achievement is unlikely.
“It was difficult for us to go unbeaten in League One last year,” he said. “Robbie Neilson has done great since stepping in at Hearts and they are doing it in a way that they are playing well and are good to watch.
“But it will be a difficult task for them to go unbeaten. They have a difficult game on Saturday, away to Queen of the South. It will be difficult for anybody to go unbeaten in such a competitive league. We’ve been made aware of that in the first few games, but they are obviously going in the right direction.
“One of the biggest disappointments for us is that two of our main contenders – Hearts and Hibs – have come to Ibrox and beat us. We wanted to hit the ground running because there was a lot of questions asked about us at the start of the season with us playing against full-time opposition this season. We wanted to answer that quickly and I think in time we will grow into it, build a bit of momentum and we will get back to playing football in the Premiership.
“I definitely think it will come. I have a belief that we can do it. I’ve got a feeling that we are being written off and the manager is being questioned. That goes with the territory but I believe that with the boys we have here, we will be fine come the end of the season.
“We have to use the criticism positively. We know it happens and you are never going to get away from that. We are a bit more scrutinised here but we are ready for it and it is up to us to go out there and make it better.”
Rangers have midfielder Lewis Macleod and striker Nicky Clark available to return from injury this afternoon.