A quickfire succession of 4-0 thrashings in the first week of September, in which four goals were conceded in back-to-back matches by the Gers for the first time in 40 years, was followed by another humbling by Napoli in midweek; and if a win isn’t secured today, a mood of crisis will envelop Ibrox.
Ahead of the vital clash against Dundee United this afternoon, there is some good news, with Van Bronckhorst revealing that there are no fresh injuries after the Champions League defeat to the Serie A side, saying: “We don’t have any fresh new injuries after the game on Wednesday. We have all the players who were available in the last game.”
Despite the result against Napoli, the Dutchman believes that his team showed more fighting spirit than against either Celtic or Ajax in those 4-0 defeats earlier in the month.
The 47-year-old explained: “Mentally, although we suffered another defeat, the players look really strong. That’s an aspect we need to have switching back to the league. With a home game we are very determined to get back to winning ways.”
Nonetheless, Rangers can expect another tough task today, with Dundee United having improved since sacking Jack Ross a few weeks ago.
The Tangerines have only conceded one goal in their last two matches – as opposed to 23 goals shipped in the four matches prior – and they will likely shut up shop and deploy a low block, which could frustrate the Light Blues.
Being able to call upon everyone who was available against Napoli will be a big boost for Van Bronckhorst, although there are likely to be changes.
With James Sands suspended for the next Champions League match due to his midweek red card, one of either Ben Davies or Leon King will likely partner Connor Goldson at the heart of defence to familiarise themselves with one another before the European double header against Liverpool in early October.
The experiment to start Alfredo Morelos against Napoli didn’t quite work out, so Antonio Colak should be back to lead the line against Dundee United. He could continue his fine domestic record, having scored four goals and registered one assist in just six league matches.
Whatever team Van Bronckhorst selects for today’s encounter, the prerequisite is that the 11 players go out and secure all three points.