Rangers caretaker manager Jimmy Nicholl has admitted that there are some players at Ibrox who will not be able to handle the pressure and demands put on them next season when Steven Gerrard takes over as manager.
The Liverpool icon takes up his post at Ibrox on June 1st as the Light Blues try to end Celtic’s recent dominance of Scottish football – and Nicholl insists the current squad haven’t played to their capabilities this season as they have struggled to nail down second-place in the Scottish Premiership.
The Northern Irishman has warned the senior stars that once Gerrard takes charge there will be some who will buckle under the pressure on the Ibrox giants.
“You have got to make sure you are strong enough to beat Celtic,” Nicholl said, as quoted by Sky Sports.
“It’s up to the new manager to decide how many he is short of doing that.
“There is a good group but sometimes they haven’t shown that. They certainly didn’t show it in those two Celtic games recently.
“But I know what they are like and I know that when Steven comes in, when standards are set and demands put on them, there will be some who will be able to handle it and some who will not.”
Football Insider verdict:
It has been clear for years that there are players in key positions who are not up to being vital parts of a side maintaining a serious title challenge. The appointment of Gerrard – and likely overhaul of the playing squad in the summer – will again see fans have demands of silverware next season. Gerrard will need to make sure he gets players in who are strong enough mentally to deal with everything that comes with playing for one side of the Old Firm. Nicholl’s claim that the Gers are better than they have shown this season is pretty fair. Few would have expected Bruno Alves to look like a frightened rabbit every time the ball came near him in the penalty area or that Ryan Jack and Graham Dorrans would both pick up injuries that would keep them out for the bulk of the season. On paper at least, the Light Blues had a squad capable of at least challenging Celtic but, for a number of reasons, failed spectacularly.