Rangers paying price for poor defending, says Billy Dodds
Former Rangers striker Billy Dodds believes some bad performances that are defensive are hampering them.
Steven Gerrard’s side were held to a 2-2 draw together with Celtic defeating Kilmarnock 3-1 on the exact identical day to extend their lead to 12 points.
After winning Celtic Park for the first time in two years, using a match in hand, Rangers were just two points behind their Glasgow rivals before the winter in Scotland.
“I thought their performance level was pretty great from midfield to front and in generating opportunities,” Dodds told Sky Sports News.
“They got two goals although also the central defensive pairing were really bad on the afternoon, especially Nikola Katic.
“I really don’t know whether it’s focus or only a little bit of discipline [lacking]. Steven Gerrard wants his defenders as Rangers are struggling to get goals just to be at their best.
“I understand they scored two yesterday but they have been struggling to score in matches, so they want their defenders to stay when they’re not and yesterday they didn’t.”
Dodds says there is quality readily available to Gerrard but believes they have fallen short of the criteria they reached earlier in the year.
He admits the title race is now pretty much over now, meaning Hearts and that their forthcoming games against Braga in the Europa League in the Scottish Cup carry on extra significance.
“I really don’t believe that you can say they are lacking in quality since right up before the winter break they were putting in a challenge to Celtic, so the quality is there,” he further added.
“If they’d won their game in hand they had the opportunity to go top but since they have completely switched off and it’s gone wrong. They have lost a little bit of confidence.
“They’ve got a huge week coming up and they’ve Hearts in the Scottish Cup if they get back. With the league looking like it is out of reach, these two competitions come to the fore.”
In contrast, Celtic have won 19 of the last 20 league games after producing some alterations and Dodds considers Gers haven’t reacted to that.
“They’ve gone and analysed, tweaked their shape and needed a little change of personnel, put two up front and it appears to be functioning,” said Dodds.
“But Rangers must answer to that, that’s what you need to do if you are likely to win championships or trophies.
“So far since the [winter] break, Rangers have not replied to that. They can’t deal with the pressure”