Steven Gerrard insists he now knows which players to trust after his much-changed Rangers side drew 1-1 against 10-man Dundee at the Kilmac Stadium at Dens Park.
After losing 1-0 at home to Aberdeen at Ibrox in midweek, Gerrard brought in Joe Worrall, Andy Halliday, Jordan Rossiter, Ryan Kent, Eros Grezda and Kyle Lafferty for the Ladbrokes Premiership game against a side who started the match bottom of the table.
Former Gers striker Kenny Miller gave the home side the lead after just nine minutes but that advantage was cancelled out in 21 minutes after Dark Blues defender Nathan Ralph was given a straight red card by referee Alan Muir for a foul on Ibrox winger Daniel Candeias just outside the box, and Halliday fired in the resulting free-kick.
However, the Light Blues were thereafter denied by a Dundee side who defended desperately for the well-deserved point which took them off the bottom, while the visitors ended the match two points behind leaders Celtic.
Asked about all the changes, the Light Blues boss said: “It won’t happen again. People knock on the door. People shake their head when they are not in the team. People are disappointed but that’s fine, that’s football.
“But when you are given a chance, go and back it up, go and perform. Give me a problem and a headache. It is pretty easy, pretty straightforward for me now.
“I know the players I can trust and it is a reality check today that we are not good enough to make six changes.
“It should make my job a lot easier moving forward because there will be less knocks at the door because if players are honest with themselves and watch that performance back I don’t think they have a leg to stand on.
“But I welcome the knocks because I have all the evidence and ammunition to show them why they are not in the team.”
Gerrard, however, accepted responsibilty for the Aberdeen and Dundee matches
He said: “I am very disappointed. Our last two performances have been very poor.
“Seven days ago we were in a fantastic place, top of the league, looking like we had players who could handle the responsibility of being a Rangers player because we end up at the top.
“The last two performances don’t look like the team we are trying to build and individuals are not stepping up and performing at a level that is acceptable.”
Lafferty had the ball in the net before the break only to be ruled offside but Gerrard claimed he did not get the chance to make his feelings known.
He said: “It looked good for me. The official delegate has just asked me have I got anything to say about the officials but before I could open my mouth he walked past me and left.”
Dundee boss Jim McIntyre was delighted with his side’s desire to hold on for the draw but will appeal Ralph’s red card.
He said: “I have seen it again and the referee said it was for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity so it will be appealed because Andy Boyle was round on the cover so it is definitely not.
“So that was disappointing but I would rather talk about how good the players were. I was delighted especially after being down to 10 men for so long. I thought the boys showed great resolve. The players deserve all the credit.”
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