CHRIS SUTTON has warned Steven Gerrard of a possible dressing-room revolt after the Ibrox gaffer’s stinging criticism of his players in the 2-1 defeat against Kilmarnock in midweek.
The loss, after leading 1-0 at the interval with a goal from Scott Arfield, sent the Govan outfit spiralling TEN points behind champions and pacesetters Celtic who are eyeing a ninth successive title.
The Liverpool legend looked shaken and disturbed when he faced his inquisitors shortly after his team’s second loss on their travels in 2020 following the 2-1 flop against rock-bottom Hearts at Tynecastle.
Former Celtic goal hero Sutton, speaking out in his Daily Record column, said: “Steven Gerrard better hope all of his players are still on board with him.
“Because if I was in that Ibrox dressing room, I’d be wondering if the manager had my back or was looking out for himself.
“It seems to be Gerrard’s way when it goes well, yet down to the players when it goes wrong.
IN WITH A SHOUT…Steven Gerrard, watched by Gary McAllister, yells with joy after the win at Parkhead.
“His comments after Rugby Park perplexed me. He said it was his responsibility. Then proceeded to cane his players for being weak mentally.
“It was like: ‘Yeah, blame me. But actually, it was really them’.
“That’s a dangerous approach. That can alienate players by making them feel the manager is protecting his own back at their expense.
“Could you imagine Walter Smith saying that? Or guys I played under like Martin O’Neill or Kenny Dalglish?
“Prior to the Betfred Cup Final, I was absolutely lambasted by Rangers supporters for accusing their team of being serial losers. Now, basically, Gerrard has done exactly the same thing.
“How else do you read this post Killie. He said: ‘I thought we had the mentality and the characters to sustain a push, but on the evidence of the last four or five weeks I’m getting proved wrong.’
“You don’t need a Spanish translator to tell you that means: ‘I thought we had the mentality and character to go and win this thing, but I’m getting proved wrong and we’re going to lose it.’
“When Rangers lost at Tynecastle three weeks ago, Gerrard was questioning his own team’s bottle. Those lads hadn’t lost an away game all season. It was a first. Did the players really deserve to be called out in that manner?
“If I’d have been in that dressing room, I’d have been sickened by it and the same thing happened after Rugby Park.”
OUT WITH A WHIMPER…a subdued Steven Gerrard after his side’s 2-1 loss at Kilmarnock.
Sutton continued: “If you question the mentality of your own team when they fail to handle a specific situation like Tynecastle, do you think that’s going to help them when they are back in the same place as they were in Ayrshire? I think we got the answer.
“Listen, all I ever try to do is tell it honestly. When the season resumed, I made the point that Celtic had the depth and the mentality to cope with stage two of the season and it was up to Rangers to prove they had it, too.
“I lavished them praise after the Old Firm win. They deserved it and their form over the first half of the campaign to keep pace with Celtic was worthy of extreme commendation. Gerrard may be regretting his exuberant celebrations at Parkhead, even if my tongue was in my cheek when I said at the time they were OTT.
“My point then was that they’d had a good run with injuries and they might be stretched, so I made Celtic favourites. The proof has been there since the resumption.
“It wasn’t having a go. It was pointing out potential scenarios. There is just not the depth in the squad. Guys like Borna Barisic have been splendid signings, but Gerrard has acquired too much deadwood.
“He has enjoyed ample backing in the transfer market by his board and there’s been some serious wastage. Ovie Ejaria, Eros Grezda, Lassana Coulibaly, Kyle Lafferty, Umar Sadiq, Joe Worrall, Matt Polster, Jordan Jones, Greg Stewart, Brandon Barker, Sheyi Ojo, Andy King.
“He’s got to take all responsibility. This is his squad, his players. If they are not up to it, there’s nowhere else to point the blame.”
Gerrard’s side face Livingston in Govan this afternoon while the champions travel to Pittodrie tomorrow for the midday confrontation against Aberdeen, a team they have already beaten twice in this campaign.