Rangers setbacks no cause for alarm, insists Gary McAllister
There was a nothing-to-see-here-really tone to the pronouncements of Gary McAllister on the most difficult week endured by Steven Gerrard since he became Rangers manager in June.
Ibrox No 2 McAllister, who fulfilled the club’s managerial media duties ahead of today’s visit to St Mirren, acknowledged the grumbles that accompanied Wednesday’s 1-1 draw at home to Kilmarnock – the follow-up to the Betfred Cup semi-final loss to Aberdeen last Sunday. He is confident, though, that there is enough mental strength between Gerrard and a squad containing a preponderance of his signings to prevent such murmurings becoming exasperated growls.
The Ibrox club’s release of financial figures that revealed a yearly loss topping £14 million capped a miserable week for them. However, McAllister maintained such figures would not cap the ambition of Gerrard to continue the overhaul of a playing pool he has said still could require considerable upgrading in the wake of recent disappointments.
“Whenever anybody becomes available once the transfer window opens, we have to be in that market,” said McAllister. “We have to try and keep making this a better place for fans to come and watch better quality players.”
McAllister accepts that last week’s Hampden defeat is a failure to deliver on what those followers demand, and the management team demand of themselves.
Asked what success from this season would look like, he said: “We are here to win, to try and win something. The longer we stay in the Europa League is just a massive bonus, but we are here to win. I associate this club with winning things. It is very similar to when I went to Liverpool as a player. I thought I had a better chance of winning things when I got to a club like that. If you play here, you have a chance of winning things.
“[Last Sunday was a big blow], especially with the way the game went, because I thought we controlled it for over 90 per cent of it. [When we were winning] the momentum was fantastic and we rode with it and it was very enjoyable, we received some nice plaudits. We played some good football and scored a lot of goals.
“We’ve just come unstuck a couple of times, both in games in which we’ve bossed and enjoyed a lot of possession. We could have been a little more clinical as we had chances in those games and it has become a wee bit frustrating, we heard that from the fans.
“There’s not a lot wrong – apart from the most important bit. The hardest thing to do in football is to score a goal. We have looked pretty solid defensively but then we got done by a sucker punch off the set-piece at Hampden.
“We’re fine. We just have to trust about what we do in the training ground and believe in ourselves. I think we have got guys who are strong enough to do that. They won’t hide from the challenge.
“We just want to get a run going again. Because when we were in that nice spell and momentum was good, clubs like this are pretty special places to be. We’ve got to trust what we do and go hunting for opportunities to make chances and we’ll be fine.”
Although the stat is false because Gerrard’s team have shown remarkable tenacity in Europe to play 11 games without defeat, the fact they have a win rate below 50 per cent, and so below that achieved by Graeme Murty, Pedro Caixinha and Mark Warburton, means Rangers need to be fine today against a St Mirren team that has lost its last six games. Otherwise, Gerrard and his coaching staff will require to arm themselves with high-quality ear plugs.