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EX-GERS STRIKERS OPEN FIRE ON UNDER-SIEGE VAN BRONCKHORST

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PRESSURE is mounting on Giovanni van Bronckhorst after Rangers slumped SEVEN points behind champions Celtic following their 2-1 flop against St Johnstone in Perth yesterday.

The Ibrox side dropped their fifth point in three games after also drawing 1-1 with Livingston in Glasgow just over a fortnight ago when it took a stoppage-time equaliser from John Lundstram to salvage a stalemate.

At McDiarmid Park, Van Bronckhorst’s side had overwhelming possession and forced 20 corner-kicks, but still lost to strikes from James Brown and ex-Ger Nicky Clark with captain James Tavernier claiming their consolation goal 16 minutes from time.

Former strikers Kenny Miller and Kris Boyd reckon there could be serious questions asked about the Dutchman’s future at the club.

He will lead the team into Wednesday’s home game against Hearts and St Mirren in Paisley at the weekend before the welcome break for the World Cup Finals in Qatar.

Miller believes big decisions have to be made about Van Bronckhorst, less than a year after he took over from Steven Gerrard.

The former Scotland international said: “I’ve got my own thoughts, but inside that building, there needs to be some serious thought going into that because it does look like there’s something not right at the minute.

“We never like to see managers lose their job, but there needs to be questions asked and there needs to be an improvement.

“If they can get through the last two games before they break with maximum points and come through no more than seven points behind, it gives you five weeks to put in some serious work and get the key players back fit then hopefully attack the second half of the season.

“Gio’s been here as a player and now as the manager, he’s going to know the pressure is going to fall on his shoulders particularly when you fall seven points behind after 13 games.

“He’s going to know there are going to be real questions asked of him.”

Miller, speaking to Sky Sports, added: “There is a lot missing at the moment.

“Within the team there is a real lack of confidence and I think there’s a lack of belief in each other and potentially even in the manager about how they’re going about their business.

“There’s also a real lack of creativity and, when you look at the players that they’ve got, it’s incredible to say that.

“There’s so much possession and territory and the number of crosses going into the box is phenomenal, but teams will be happy to deal with that. St Johnstone had three centre-backs who were more than happy to head everything coming into the box and defend that goal with their lives.

“When you see the way Celtic are playing at the moment there is a belief there and a relentless nature to their play that they can go and get a goal at any time in the game.”

Former team-mate Boyd remarked: “There’s been a lack of creativity. Money was spent in the summer transfer window, but a lot of them haven’t worked.

“There’s going to be a big overhaul needed, the question is will Giovanni van Bronckhorst see that out? I don’t know. The club always finds a way if they’re going to change the manager.

“I think the problem he faces at the moment is even when they were winning and scraping by there was frustration from the fans. Once the fans start voicing their opinions it’s very difficult to turn.”

Under-fire Van Bronckhorst, though, is determined to turn things around and after the loss against the Perth outfit he told Sky Sports: “We are very disappointed with the result, but we need to look forward.

“It’s always difficult to take losses, especially when you are the manager or player of a big club because you know you are expected to win.

“Determination is always there. All you can do is work hard, but that doesn’t mean you always win matches.

“You have to prepare the team well, but on this occasion it was not good enough.

“That’s five points dropped in three league games and that’s too much.

“Obviously, people are not happy and we are not happy, as well.”

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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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