THE disconnect between the Rangers support and the Ibrox boardroom is now threatening to have a rival at the club: the disconnect between the fans and the players. Nicky Law recognises that fact only too well.
The Rangers midfielder is one of those players in light blue who has voluntarily placed themselves under a footballing form of house arrest since the calamitous collapse that cost Ally McCoist’s men a place in the final of the Petrofac Training Cup. The three goals conceded inside 16 minutes to result in a 3-2 loss away to Alloa came a week and a half after the equally calamitous reverse away to Hearts that extended the gap between the pair at the top of the Championship to nine points.
Those two body blows have put the wind up the Ibrox support and Law accepts there “is no room for error”, not only tonight when Rangers travel to Palmerston Park to face the team directly below them in the second tier, Queen of the South, but at any time between now and facing Hearts again in mid-January.
Moreover, when Law admits that “it is a time for less talking and more doing”, that extends to keeping his own counsel whenever he encounters Rangers supporters in supermarkets, petrol stations or in just going about his necessary business. The 26-year-old, who joined in the summer of 2013, believes it is “best probably not to” because there is nothing he could offer that would convince any disgruntled Ibrox fan that he and his team-mates aren’t misfit mercenaries.
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“It’s a battle you are not going to win, is it?” said Law. “The [Borussia] Dortmund players went over to shake the hands of their fans after they lost and I saw some fans suggesting that’s what we should have done. But that’s probably the last thing we should have done. After losing at Hearts the other day, I don’t think they would have been shaking our hands.
“You can’t win that battle. There’s no point. But we are hurting as a squad and there’s a big determination to put it right. We want to go on a run now and hope it will start at Queen of the South. Then there’s a busy period where we hope to drop no points and claw the gap back.
“It’s difficult to change people’s perceptions if what they are thinking is [players are only here for the money]. You can say the right things but people will always have their own opinion. But what I can say is there’s nobody in our dressing room pointing fingers at other people and accusing them of not trying. It’s nothing to do with a lack of effort. It’s just been switching off at the wrong times and things like that. We are proud professionals and the desire to win this league is huge. There’s a long way to go and enough time for us to put it right.”
Yet, there is also enough time for Rangers to suffer more of those toe-curling defeats that erode whatever confidence may remain in McCoist and the squad he has assembled, and make a mockery of the fact that the Ibrox club’s spend on their playing department is at least three times that of any opponents. These football brain freezes are happening “far too often” Law concedes.
“You certainly can talk about a one-off, there’s something there and it’s something we are looking to rectify. That starts against Queen of the South. They did well at Tynecastle last week when it was 1-1 for a long time. Earlier in the season, they gave us a really good game, particularly in the first half when they did as well as anyone who have come here.”
Law maintains that Rangers’ four defeats this campaign haven’t dulled the demeanour of McCoist.
“You saw after the Alloa game how much he was hurting but he was himself on the training ground,” the Englishman said. “There’s no doubt it’s affecting him because he’s got a lot of pride and one of his most difficult times as a manager is now because of the results we are having.
“In training, he’s still bright and bubbly but there’s a determination and steeliness to turn it around for the fans and the club he loves. But there’s only so much we can do. He passes on a message to us and it’s up to us to do it on the pitch – starting in Dumfries.”
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