Giovanni van Bronckhorst: How much pressure is the Rangers manager under?


Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Rangers dropped Premiership points at home for the first time this season

Back-to-back home games end with the Ibrox crowd taunting them. Four points off the pace in the Scottish Premiership. With two games to play out of the Champions League and a place in the Europa League looking unlikely.

Things are not looking good for Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst right now.

Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Livingston, while not necessarily fatal to their title hopes, continued the recent trend of a lack of end product at Ibrox. And it was the 13th game in all the competitions they have received in 21.

Booing greeted the Rangers players as they left the field following Wednesday’s 1-0 League Cup win over Dundee and a late draw against 10-man Livingston on Saturday.

Asked how he felt about the fans’ anger after that draw, Van Bronckhorst’s answer was simple: “The same. I’m not happy with the performance, I’m not happy that we dropped points at home, I feel bad,” he explained.

“I always feel the pressure. I’m responsible for the results. The draw is my responsibility, the line-up, the structure, the substitutes – it comes down to one man and that’s the manager. That’s the pressure I feel.”

Can Van Bronckhorst survive his latest setback?

The Dutchman came into this season with plenty of credit in the bank. Having won last season’s Europa League semi-finals and Scottish Cup, Steven Gerrard’s first seven months after his mid-season exit were quite limited.

And success in the Champions League knockout stages further bolstered his record at Ibrox.

However, heavy defeats, especially at Celtic internationally and at Ajax and Liverpool in Europe, have created dissension and doubts about his future.

Also, poor performances in wins over Dundee United, Motherwell and Dundee and now a draw with Livingston have added to the pressure ahead of a hugely underwhelming trip to Napoli in midweek.

Former Scotland midfielder Leanne Crichton says it is “uncertain if Van Bronckhorst will survive”.

“I can hear the frustration at Ibrox. It really hasn’t looked good,” he added on Sportsound.

Antonio Cola

Could things get worse this week?

Financially, reaching the group stage of the Champions League has been very important for Rangers. In the competition, he has lost confidence with four defeats, scoring 16 goals and conceding only one.

Group A leaders Napoli host Rangers next Wednesday, with the Ibrox side needing something to move Ajax into third place and give them a chance to secure a Europa League spot.

Former Rangers striker Mark Hateley, a veteran of many successes at Ibrox in the 1990s, bemoaned the “lack of imagination” against Livingston and asked: “What will that do to the minds of the players and fans now?

“Bad performance, bad, bad result going into the Champions League. Rangers have no identity at the moment.”

Are Celtic Rangers’ biggest problem?

Statistically, the Rangers’ season so far hasn’t been a disaster. With only one home loss and two draws, they have two points more than last year at this stage of the season.

Van Bronckhorst has also struggled with injuries amid a truncated schedule of home and European games for the World Cup tournament. But the brutal reality for the Netherlands and Rangers fans is that the current woes contrast with Celtic’s strength and consistency.

Celtic’s loss to St Mirren was their first league defeat in nearly a year and Rangers have won 12 in the Premiership this season, averaging one more goal a game.

And former Rangers striker Rory Loy said: “He’s going to have to turn his performances around. It’s October, you’ve got to perform. You can’t expect to win 2-1 every week and go on because the performances will catch up with you.

“The caterpillars have been hanging around for too long.”

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