Steven Gerrard determined to learn lessons from Rangers’ Old Firm loss

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard is aiming to kickstart another unbeaten run. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS Group
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard is aiming to kickstart another unbeaten run. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS Group
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When the damage is done, the gift of hindsight can sometimes feel like a fairly useless tool for any football manager.

Having had the past fortnight to reflect on Rangers’ lame performance in losing 2-0 at home to Celtic, Steven Gerrard admits he may have got ‘one or two things’ wrong with his team selection and tactics.

The Rangers manager is content to accept the scrutiny placed upon him in the wake of that Old Firm setback for his side, their first defeat in an otherwise positive start to the season.

But Gerrard is determined to use the lessons learned from it to try and kickstart another unbeaten run when Rangers return to action against Livingston at Ibrox on Saturday.

“We need to press the reset button,” he said. “We’ve taken a lot of criticism – I’ve taken a lot of criticism – and rightly so, because our performance wasn’t at the level that is needed to win an Old Firm match.

“The players understand that. I could tell they understood it as soon as I walked in the dressing room. We’ve had a long time to reflect on that. We have to suck it up, swallow it. Fortunately in football, after a disappointment you always get the chance to bounce back or start the process of bouncing back.

“We’ve got Livingston on Saturday and I want my players revved up for that.

“I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning in this job. I have conversations with managers who have been doing it for 20 years and they say they are still making mistakes now and still learning.

“There will never be a day when I stop learning – it was the same when I was a player. I was still learning in the last few months before I hung my boots up, so I’m sure it will be the same as a coach.

“I picked the team I thought was right for the Celtic game. But if you get the amount of players we had on the day who were off it, then you won’t win an Old Firm match. To win derby matches, you have to win your one v ones all over the park or at least the majority of them.

“I can’t remember too many one v ones we won. Forget tactics, forget personnel. If you lose those battles you won’t win an Old Firm game.

“But if people want to point fingers at me in terms of team selection, then I’ll take it on the chin. Would I, in hindsight, have done anything differently? Maybe one or two things, of course, but you can’t go back and change things. All you can do is look forward and maybe try and learn from where you went wrong.”

That is a lesson which especially applies to Rangers winger Jordan Jones, who will be sidelined for at least a month by the knee injury he sustained in making a wild challenge on Celtic’s Moritz 
Bauer which saw him sent off in stoppage time of the Old Firm 

“It’s a frustrating one but Jordan has moved on from it and I’ve moved on from it,” added Gerrard. “It’s a disappointing one for both of us.

“He got a tackle in the first few minutes after he came on in the Old Firm game and he’s got an ankle problem from that. Then in getting the red card, he flared up a knee issue.

“So he has two issues he is managing at the moment and I don’t think you will see him for, best case, a month. 
Maybe it will be a little bit 
longer than that.

“It’s frustrating for me because he’d been in good form. Unfortunately he’s not going to be available for the foreseeable future when we have some really big fixtures. But I’ve chatted to Jordan, we are going to move on and hopefully get him back as soon as possible.

“He will learn from it because he’s going to have to watch games. Players don’t like being injured, they want to go out and play. There’s nothing worse than sitting in the stands, especially when Feyenoord are coming to town next week and you have a Europa League run along with big domestic fixtures when every point is important.

“Jordan is a Rangers fan and I know he’ll be desperate to be involved.

“So I’m sure he will learn from it.”