As the old saying goes ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same.’ This would perfectly summarise the first Rangers game post-Michael Beale in the Europa League last night.
Playing against Aris Limassol in the second group game, the Ibrox side looked like a bunch of lost boys as they were woeful in a 2-1 defeat in Cyprus.
Yes, a defeat against a team playing only the 10th European game in their history. For all the poor form and performances up until this point, this should have been a game Rangers could win comfortably.
Granted, the man in the dugout on Thursday – Steven Davis – has zero managerial experience under his belt.
However, he is a club legend, and someone who has been a integral member of this squad for just as long as many who lined up against Limassol.
So if the players can’t motivate themselves for someone for Davis’ status at Ibrox, then something is seriously wrong internally right now.
Instead of trying to produce something different to get that immediate bounce of confidence, the starting team simply seemed to play in the same manner they had been for weeks under Beale, maybe even worse.
This would represent a number of things from the outside looking in. Be it a lack of confidence, quality or leadership, us as fans are seeing very little of any from those in blue right now.
Confidence and quality tied into one
Instantly, the attention radiates onto those for who Beale splashed out the big bucks on over the summer in Sam Lammers and Cyriel Dessers, both of whom looked lost and abject once again.
When it comes to Lammers, there is clearly a player in there. We saw that in pre-season where he was our best player for the majority of the matches played.
What appears to be a big issue with the Dutchman is he’s been shoehorned into so many roles in last two months that don’t suit him, which has led to his confidence being severely drained. You could label the same at Jose Cifuentes, someone coming in from a different continent and being asked to play as a covering right midfielder.
For Dessers, you could label both tags at him. He’s so far shown no signs of a player that has been chased to some degree by Beale for many years.
When it comes to appointing a new manager, the importance of having someone renowned as a serial tactician and motivator is vital, as maybe then, we will be able to judge which players have the ability deep down, and those who are just duds. If they are the latter, then they should be able to show it with the right people in charge.
Where is the leadership?
In saying that, there should be several members of that dressing room who should be able to step up and give their support to these newbies who haven’t had anything going for them.
Those so-called members of the senior leadership team who have been here and know the script inside and out over many years.
You look at players like James Tavernier, Connor Goldson and Borna Barisic, who right now, are offering little on and off the pitch to adhere to the standards needed to be a Rangers player.
The fact that Tavernier has lasted through five permanent managers now has to be scrutinised to some degree.
When you have a player like Jack Butland, who has been in the door less than five minutes, being the one to look fans in the eye after games and bark the orders out on the field, speaks volumes for the comfort these aforementioned leaders have had in recent years,
If the new boss wants to stamp his authority down right away, then he will have to look at these players and question whether they deserve to be labelled as guaranteed the safe haven that Michael Beale afforded for them.
Like with the players low in confidence, they will need to show what they are able to provide both before and after Beale’s appointment is made. Otherwise, they should be given the same treatment the likes of Kent and Morelos were given in the summer.
That being a thanks for their service, but it’s time we move on and push the club forward.
Either you are going to contribute positively to the rest of the campaign, or you don’t deserve to be playing at Rangers anymore.