Rangers eased through to the Scottish Cup fourth round on Sunday with a comfortable 4-0 win against Cove Rangers but there was a cause of concern for some Rangers fans after Steven Gerrard left Jack Simpson out at Ibrox.
With Filip Helander having featured twice for Sweden during the international break, Sunday’s game seemed the ideal time for Gerrard to hand Simpson his first start for Rangers following his January move.
However, the 40-year-old manager stuck with his tried and tested partnership of Helander and Connor Goldson, leaving Simpson on the bench despite taking a 4-0 lead into half-time.
The 24-year-old centre-back was initially going to join Rangers on a pre-contract deal ahead of next season but was brought to Ibrox ahead of schedule in the winter transfer window.
However, he has made just two substitute appearances totalling 35 minutes since then and after being left out against significantly inferior opposition in Cove Rangers, you worry that Gerrard might have already written him off.
Upon his arrival, Simpson’s former youth coach Tim Davies waxed lyrical about his ability to The Scottish Sun, he said: “He can play in a back three, in a two or as a holding midfielder. Jack is excellent on the ball. He’s also left-footed and so many managers crave that as he offers balance.”
Of course, Simpson was always going to struggle to break into Rangers’ defence this season, when you consider that the Gers have conceded just 10 goals in the top-flight so far this season, with the likes of Goldson, Helander and Leon Balogun all impressing at the back.
However, with Helander being linked with a move away in recent weeks, whilst Balogun’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season, you would have thought that Sunday’s game against Cove Rangers would have presented an ideal opportunity for Gerrard to test Simpson out in his side, and see whether he has what it takes to step up next season.
The Light Blues also have Nikola Katic and George Edmundson to return this summer, with the Croatian edging closer to full fitness after his season-long injury, whilst the Englishman will be hoping to push on at Ibrox after a loan spell at Derby County.
Therefore, there is already a lot of competition at centre-back in Gerrard’s side and unless Simpson can start to show a lot more training, which you feel is the only reason why he would have been omitted against Cove on Sunday, you worry that his time at Ibrox may well already be cut short.