I watched Kilmarnock previous home game against Inverness, as shambolic a defensive performance as I have seen in the SPL. Shipping six goals against the team who were, and remain, bottom of the league is the kind of result that can decimate team morale, but St Johnstone’s result at Ibrox last week offered some encouragement that you can get at this this Rangers team.
It’s worth pointing out a few things. Rangers are still four points clear at the top of the league, if we were in that position we would rightly be delighted and confident. Pascali’s goal for Kilmarnock was also only their second goal conceded in eight SPL away games and only their seventh overall in 16 games – getting on for half a season. By comparison, Celtic have conceded 14 goals, including three at Kilmarnock.
While that defensive record is commendable, the loss of Steven Naismith leaves them disproportionately dependent on Nikica Jelavic to maintain their goal-scoring threat, and Jelavic is not known for season-long durability.
When news came through that Sone Aluko had paid his transfer fee to become a Rangers player few of us expected him to make as quick an impact on the league table as he has, single-handedly playing three Kilmarnock players onside at the goal. This is an unfortunate start to the player’s Rangers career but Rangers fans have a reputation for scapegoating (among other things). For some, Aluko’s card is marked. He’ll need a lot of talent to recover from this one.