Gerrard would be in crisis at Rangers if not for Europa League – Commons

The former England and Liverpool midfielder has been praised for his side’s start to the season, but have they really made progress?

Steven Gerrard’s start to life at Rangers has been heavily overrated, according to former Celtic star Kris Commons, who believes fans have been tricked into thinking they have made progress under their new manager.

Rangers lost for the first time under the former Liverpool midfielder in any competition when they succumbed to a 1-0 defeat to arch-rivals Celtic on Sunday.

However, the Ibrox side’s five points from four games in the Scottish Premiership marks their worst start to a domestic season since 1989-90.

Gerrard has received praise for guiding his team to the Europa League group stage this season, but Commons believes that achievement has compensated for their underwhelming start, stating they should really be in a crisis.

“All the pre-match talk centred on the theory that Rangers had closed the gap on Celtic since the sides last met. That Steven Gerrard’s men were in a really strong position going into the first Old Firm game of the season,” the former Celtic star wrote in the Scottish Daily Mail

“But the bottom line is that this is the worst start Rangers have made to a league season since 1989-90. That’s extraordinary.

“The feel-good factor has certainly improved recently but only because they are now playing in European football until Christmas. Strip that away and it would already be crisis time.

“I saw Rangers at Aberdeen and Motherwell and they are still a squad who’ve been put together in a very short space of time.

“They have a better quality of player there. But, on the evidence of yesterday, they are still way off it.

“Ever since I’ve been up in Glasgow, it’s all about the league. Not only do you need to be competitive. You need to be winning it.

“It’s the title which the fans want. It’s that which then gives you the means to attract better players and make real inroads in Europe.

“I know it’s early but they are now sitting seventh in the Premiership. That puts them behind Hibs, St Johnstone and Livingston as well as Hearts, Celtic and Kilmarnock.

“It’s already getting to crunch time for Gerrard’s players where they’re going into games knowing they’ve got to win. If they slip up again, it’s a long way back.

“The wool has been pulled over people’s eyes in terms of how improved they are. If Pedro Caixinha had overseen the worst start to a league season in 29 years, they’d be calling for his head.”

But Commons sees room for improvement and believes the upcoming international break will allow Gerrard to get his team into shape and climb up the table.

“After the 3-3 draw with Motherwell and yesterday’s defeat, Gerrard would have learned a little bit more about his squad,” he added.

“After a gruelling spell, the international break gives him time to work on some things and implement more.

“His players will need to learn fast, though. Despite their commendable achievements in Europe, they are already at the point where there is no room for error domestically.”

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