Rangers fan favourite Andy Halliday simply has to be dropped

This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…

There remains some uncertainty at Rangers over who their first-choice left-back is.

It is the only real position that doesn’t appear to have a guaranteed starter, with Borna Barisic, Jon Flanagan and Andy Halliday all aiming to make the berth their own.

With Rangers playing Feyenoord on Thursday, manager Steven Gerrard must make a decision and Barasic should be selected.

On the chalkboard

Andy Halliday is not a left-back for a start – he is a central or left-sided midfielder that has been filling in on the left side of defence, with 74 of the 118 Rangers outings Transfermarkt have recorded a position for coming in defensive midfield. He was rated as the worst player on the pitch against East Fife while lining up at left-back – just 4.85/10 on the BBC Sport website.

There remains a romantic opinion of Halliday; Rangers fans want him to do well for the club given his fierce loyalty – he has stood in the same stands as a fan – but being a supporter┬áin itself is no longer enough.

He has made a number of mistakes in recent weeks, including against Livingston as he allowed a chance that hit the crossbar, while he also misjudged a delivery against East Fife, with goalkeeper Wes Foderingham sparing his blushes.

Those mistakes could have been costly.

Barisic must play

Barisic started both games for Croatia in the recent international break, the most likely reason for Halliday getting a run out against Livingston.

With Flanagan out injured for the next few weeks, Barasic is the only real choice at left-back.

He has been creating chances and has one “official” goal to his name – being robbed against St Joseph’s of another sublime free-kick – and two assists.

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He has improved his physicality and is pressing high up the pitch, while he is making a marked improvement in his recovery runs when tracking back – all evident from watching him play.

If Rangers are to continue to improve, Halliday must only be played when Barisic needs a rest and against weaker opposition until Flanagan is able to deputise.

Gerrard should make the Croatian his first-choice; he is the most sensible option.

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