The absence of fans in stadiums is taking the pressure off Rangers stars, according to Alan Hutton.
The former Gers defender and boyhood fan at Ibrox, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, has suggested the lack of supporters has given the players freedom to express themselves and taken some necessary pressure off the squad.
Steven Gerrard’s men have made a remarkable start to the new season and remain unbeaten across all competitions after Thursday’s 3-3 draw with Benfica in Portugal.
While there have been a small number of opposition supporters allowed at the Gers’ away games in Europe, the Ibrox faithful have not been allowed to see their side in person so far this term.
Hutton has insisted that players are trying things they would not usually do in games due to the empty stands but suggested they are also getting lax in defence as a result.
Hutton told Football Insider: “As you know, I’ve been to the Villa games and Ibrox this season and I’ve watched football (without fans) and it does give you a freedom.
“I was actually talking about it yesterday, some people will try things that they wouldn’t normally when the crowds are there – for example, if a right-back wants to try a big switch of play and he gives it away, it gets cut out in midfield, the crowd is on him. He won’t do it next time.
“There’s no fans, there’s that freedom to go and express yourself a little bit more, maybe try something that you wouldn’t on a normal day when the crowds are in, so it does allow people freedom.
“I think the thing with having the fans in is you wouldn’t see so many silly goals, so many high-scoring games because it gives you that little bit of nervous energy you need to get back in or recover into a defensive shape. It kind of works both ways.”
Rangers currently sit top of the Scottish Premiership by nine points, although Celtic do have two games in hand, while they also lead their Europa League group after three games.
In other Rangers news, Gerrard has been told to start a barely-seen teenager after Auchenhowie reveal.