Steven Gerrard has backed Borna Barisic to carry on taking penalties for Rangers despite his miss v Dundee United on Sunday.
Barisic was the main man in mid-week after his Europa League heroics helped to power the Gers past Royal Antwerp and take a 4-3 advantage to Ibrox ahead of this Thursday’s crucial second-leg.
After Tavernier was forced off through injury Barisic stepped up and scored two penalties but he missed his effort against the Tangerines on Sunday to place his future participation in doubt.
However, as reported on the Glasgow Times website, Gerrard has offered his support to the Croatian international but hinted that he must take responsibility for his actions.
He said: “I am sure he will put his hand up. It shows that he is human missing the penalty today. I think Jermain Defoe was trying to put his name on it and didn’t really have much time.
“I am sure he will put his hand up. If not, there will be a queue because everyone wants to take penalties and it is a great opportunity to score. I will be disappointed if he doesn’t put his hand up, that is for sure.”
Rangers have now missed three out of the nine penalties they have taken in the Scottish Premiership this season and their 66.7% success rate is the joint-worst in the division alongside Hamilton Academical, while basement boys Kilmarnock are among the six-strong pile that are yet to taste failure from the spot.
Spot the penalty problem
Of course, it should be noted that Barisic still scored two out of the three penalties he took in the space of fewer than 72 hours, but the manner of his first attempt v Antwerp alongside Sunday’s effort is a cause for concern.
The Antwerp goalkeeper got his fingers on the first penalty last Thursday but in keeping with his overall display let the ball go through his grasp.
Tavernier is so often a reliable presence from 12 yards but he missed twice in the space of two weeks in January (v Ross County and Aberdeen) and it must be a cause for concern at the club.
It will not be a pressing issue on the domestic front as title number 55 looks set to be wrapped up in record fashion soon but the Gers will be eyeing a run to the latter stages of the Europa League and will need to hold their nerve if presented with the opportunity.
It looks like Barisic will have another chance to rectify his Dundee United mistake, so let’s hope he doesn’t fluff his lines on the next one.
Otherwise, we may need to find another penalty taker among the Rangers ranks.
With the prospect of penalty shoot-outs in Europe on the horizon, the Light Blues would be minded to sort out this problem as soon as possible.
In other Rangers news, pundit pours praise on Joe Aribo following a dazzling display v Dundee United.