Rangers can make up for Aberdeen loss with Kilmarnock win says Joe Worrall
For Rangers, a setback can very quickly become a crisis. Steven Gerrard observed that it will 'take a while' to get over Sunday's Betfred Cup semi-final defeat by Aberdeen but he and his players do not have the luxury of time to lick their wounds.
If the positive vibes Gerrard has effected at the club since taking charge in the summer are not to rapidly diminish, they must bounce back immediately when they face high-flying Kilmarnock in the Premiership at Ibrox tomorrow night.
With their interest in the first domestic competition of the season ended by the 1-0 defeat at Hampden, Rangers can ill afford to fall any further off the pace in a title race which has already seen them drop ten points in their first nine games.
For defender Joe Worrall, the opportunity to get back on the bike so soon after the juddering disappointment of their reversal at the national stadium is exactly what Rangers need.
“We have another game so soon which is good because otherwise it would have been a full week where we would have had to keep our heads down,” said Worrall.
“But now we can look forward to Kilmarnock. Everyone is disappointed and hurting but we have a game to look forward to on Wednesday and we will put it right then.
“The manager said we need to focus on the positives we have had over the last couple of weeks and to make sure we make it right on Wednesday. There are plenty of other games to come and we just have to make it right.”
Worrall and his defensive team-mates were left reeling by a sucker punch from Aberdeen who soaked up significant Rangers pressure at Hampden before plundering the only goal of the game from a rare attacking foray which saw Lewis Ferguson head home from a 79th-minute corner.
“It was a kick in the teeth,” admitted the on-loan Nottingham Forest player. “It is not the best we have played but credit to Aberdeen – they stopped us from scoring and scored from a set piece. They go through to the final and we don’t. It is fine margins in these games and I think we have to create a bit more than we did on Sunday.
“We could have done better for the manager at the end of the day. He puts the team out to perform at the end of the day and we didn’t do that for him. It was a massive opportunity to get to his first cup final and he is not in it and neither are we.
“Individually it would have been my first cup final as well and so I am a little bit miffed that we aren’t in this one.”
Much of the focus in the aftermath of Rangers’ defeat was on Umar Sadiq, the Nigerian striker handed his first starting appearance for the club as Gerrard tried to compensate for the absence of the suspended Alfredo Morelos and cup-tied Kyle Lafferty.
But while Sadiq, pictured, was criticised for his failure to equalise late in the game, instead being booked for simulation as he went down after knocking the ball beyond Aberdeen goalkeeper Joe Lewis, Worrall insists Rangers must shoulder collective responsibility for their failure to reach the final.
“You can talk about who was playing and who wasn’t but at the end of the day everyone is given a shirt and is trusted by the manager to perform,” added the 21-year-old. “I think, as a team, we were below par and Aberdeen beat us.”
Worrall had no issue with Aberdeen’s tactics, which he said were the same as Rangers would have adopted had they been aiming to take the sting out of a game against attack-minded opponents.
“That is the same game plan we would want – to stick 11 men behind the ball and then to try and win it via a set piece like they did.”