Following the postponement of Friday’s Scottish Cup fourth round tie with Cowdenbeath, Rangers fans were eager to see Jermain Defoe and Steven Davis in competitive action.
The duo were afforded game time during Sunday’s friendly with HJK Helsinki but the restart of the league campaign excited the Ibrox support; two players with an abundance of Premier League experience were in tow to aid the club’s pursuit of the league title.
However, what transpired was a frustrating evening for the duo, the team, the fans and manager Steven Gerrard as Rangers fell to a 2-1 defeat at Kilmarnock.
Yet, it looked like a different evening was in store when Defoe scored on his debut to open the scoring with @Johnobrien126 tweeting “love him already”. But it would prove to be the “only highlight of the match” according to @linzeh57.
BT Sport pundits were left questioning Defoe’s compatibility with Alfredo Morelos, despite the Englishman netting on his debut to open the scoring.
Rangers legend Ally McCoist noted that the Colombian is “the kind of striker that likes to play in a three, with two either side of him, but up front, generally speaking, himself”. Chris Sutton added the pair played “too far apart”.
While Rangers fans were delighted to have both Defoe and Davis aboard, there was a lot of criticism towards Gerrard for bringing the pair into the starting XI and changing the team and system which emerged victorious in the Old Firm clash at Ibrox before the winter break.
@JordanC1107: “Other than shoehorning in big names, I can’t work out why Gerrard thought that was a good idea to alter the team from the Old Firm. No need to tinker by putting in players with no match fitness.”
@KuriousOranjj: “When we signed Defoe I was expecting him to be impact sub. Didn’t expect us to be building a team around a 36 year old.”
@thefightscore: “A blind man can see it. Dropped players in form to put his “big” signings on. Worse he changed formation to do it and still doesn’t think it was the problem. Players earn the shirt, Defoe and Davis don’t deserve to start until other lose form.”
@w33gry: “That’s what happens when you bring in someone like Defoe!! All that money he can’t sit on bench. We’ve changed the whole team to suit a over the hill hasbeen.”
@paulclem88: “Shocking tactics should have been same team again from Celtic game.”
@its_Rammo_: “Defoe is a big signing and got his goal but why do we change a winning formation against an opposition we shouldn’t be battling for 1st/2nd place baffles me!”
@jlowe1975: “100% not the game to bed in players. Defoe and Davis will be quality but they have hardly played. It was a battle tonight and we left our battler on the bench. No wide men when Defoe is a penalty box player is baffling.”
@garrymacleod86: “Worral mistake aside I wouldn’t have started Defoe or Davis tonight. After the old firm result those players should have kept their shirts and stuck with that shape. That experiment tonight may have cost us big time in the title bid.”
@197Matty197: “Davis played well when he was on and there was signs of good link up play between him Kent and arfield, everyone seemed off the pace tonight, obviously went in with the wrong attitude.”
@arthur_mac74: “Wtf were we playing at? Davis and Defoe on the bench, play the same team and ease the new guys in. Absolutely nonsensical.”
@esspekay: “7 wins in our last 18... Removing our width cost us, the midfield and defenders had no outball. Defoe has no match sharpness so ineffective and occupying Morelos space. Horrendous.”
@LaffingGravy: “This was managerial inexperience, no top manager changes a winning team unless due to injury. Defoe should only play as a replacement for Morelos. Davis should never been signed, both central defenders are too slow with no ball playing skills.”
Fans did, however, note the qualities which Davis will bring to the Rangers midfield.
@christtocs: “Steven Davis creative and taken off. Jack scared to pass the ball forward stays on?”
@BMCRangersRants: “What you notice with Steven Davis is just how quick he can play a decisive pass. Great seeing the wee man back in a @RangersFC shirt.”