Rangers host Livingston at Ibrox in the quarter-finals of the Scottish League Cup on Wednesday night as they attempt to progress through to the last four.
Steven Gerrard’s side head into the game off the back of a disappointing 1-1 draw against Motherwell in the Premiership and will be looking to return to winning ways against David Martindale’s men.
The Gers beat Dunfermline Athletic 5-0 in the previous round and a similar result could be a huge confidence boost ahead of a return to league action at the weekend.
In order to get a positive result, though, Gerrard could need to axe central defender Jack Simpson. The £900k-rated dud has struggled at Rangers and failed to show that he can be relied upon as a first team option ahead of other players at the club.
The 24-year-old started against Motherwell on Sunday and produced a disastrous performance in defence. He lost six of his nine duels on the pitch, was dribbled past three times – including one for the Motherwell equaliser – and lost possession of the ball seven times. The former Bournemouth man was handed the opportunity to stake a claim for his place and failed to take hit.
In his two league appearances this season, he has lost 71% of his ground duels and failed to keep a clean sheet for the Gers. In 2020/21, he had five outings in the Premiership and lost 61% of his ground duels as Rangers kept two clean sheets in those games.
This suggests that Simpson is not strong enough to deal with the physical battle of Scottish football. He has lost the majority of his duels since moving to Ibrox and this is not good enough for a team who want to be competing for the title and winning trophies, as he is allowing attackers to get the better of him on a regular basis.
Therefore, Gerrard must ruthlessly drop Simpson from the starting XI against Livingston as he could negatively impact the team with his performance. The 24-year-old has proven that he is not good enough defensively with the aforementioned statistics, and it is time for him to be dropped for the foreseeable future so that his weaknesses do not cause the Gers to be knocked out of the League Cup or cost them any more points in the Premiership.