Steven Gerrard faces another round of desperate soul searching after Rangers slumped to a 1-0 defeat to Hamilton at Ibrox.
The Rangers boss said he needed time to think after seeing his team dumped out of the William Hill Scottish Cup by Hearts on Saturday.
On Tuesday he insisted he was still “all in” with the club, but he may feel like reconsidering after witnessing their latest collapse.
With Celtic drawing at Livingston, this was a rare chance for Rangers to reignite their Ladbrokes Premiership title hopes – but instead they have sunk 13 points adrift after slipping up for the fifth time in as many weeks.
Gerrard recalled Alfredo Morelos after axing the striker for the Tynecastle loss as punishment for his late return from a trip to Colombia.
The striker came close to his 30th goal of the season as he hit the crossbar but it was David Moyo’s winner that lifted Brian Rice’s team off bottom spot and back above relegation rivals Hearts.
There was a lukewarm reception from the Rangers faithful as Gerrard’s team was read out before kick-off and who could blame the fans for that show of apathy as they stare at the looming reality of another year without a major domestic honour.
A round of applause was organised for the eighth minute as a show of support for the manager but again the volume levels hardly soared.
It was clear Rangers had some serious making up to do with their supporters but in fairness to them they did set about Accies with a tempo that had been badly lacking since the winter break.
Luke Southwood blocked bravely at Ianis Hagi’s feet after the Romanian did brilliantly to control a Steven Davis chip on the stretch. Glen Kamara burst into the box after swapping passes with Joe Aribo but his cut-back got caught under Florian Kamberi’s feet and Southwood saved.
The striker had an even better chance after being slid in by Morelos but again it was another good stop from the keeper. Accies were hoping to take advantage of the soft centre that Hearts, Kilmarnock and St Johnstone have all exposed in recent weeks and they had their chances before the break.
Connor Goldson had to block Marios Ogkmpoe’s strike early on while the Greek player gave another warning as he flashed over just before the break.
Rangers full-backs Borna Barisic and James Tavernier had the crowd on their back during the opening half with a string of awful deliveries from wide. Barisic almost won them over five minutes after the restart as he picked out Morelos at the back post but the Colombian’s header crashed against the bar.
Tavernier, though, was treated to another round of groans soon after as he blazed over an open goal. The despair only deepened in the 56th minute as Hamilton struck.
First Ogkmpoe powered a header off the bar but when Rangers failed to clear their lines Accies pressed again, with Moyo taking advantage as Goldson and Tavernier hesitated to prod past Allan McGregor.
Gerrard threw on Ryan Kent and Jermain Defoe to spearhead his rescue mission as Ibrox continued to boil with dismay. Morelos came close as he fired across goal while a deflected Hagi effort clipped the top of Southwood’s bar
Gerrard: Confidence is shot
Rangers boss Steven Gerrard: “Where do we start?” We have just given three points away, it’s as simple as that. I’m not really sure I’ve got that many words to describe it.
“I didn’t think I could be more disappointed than I was after Hearts – but here I am, even more disappointed than I was a few days ago. I laid down the gauntlet before the game and will continue to do that.
“But I have a dressing room that’s shot of confidence. We have played ourselves into a rut and I’ve got a real tough, tough job to pick that up and improve it from here.”
Rangers go to Ross County in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday at midday, live on Sky Sports Football, while Hamilton host Kilmarnock at 3pm on Saturday.