‘Give the lad a break’ – Lee McCulloch defends Sadiq after poor Rangers performance

Lee McCulloch moved to defend Umar Sadiq after his performance for Rangers in the semi-final of the League Cup. The 21-year-old was singled out for criticism after a below-par showing against Aberdeen in Sunday’s defeat – most notably earning himself a booking for simulation when he could have scored into an empty net after rounding the goalkeeper.

After the game, manager Steven Gerrard tried not to blame the striker for Rangers losing against the Dons, but he did speak out about the simulation and told Sadiq to stay on his feet in the future. McCulloch, however, believes everybody should “give the lad a break” and hopes his League Cup performance won’t stop him featuring again this season.

Writing a column for the Evening Times, he said: “I fully expect that everyone will be jumping on the bandwagon now to criticise Umar Sadiq after his performance at Hampden against Aberdeen, but in the circumstances, I think people should give the lad a break. I actually thought he did ok, especially in the first-half.

“I hope that people don’t write him off after one game, particularly as he has hardly seen a lot of game-time. It was a hell of a match to be thrown into, so I’m prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, and hopefully the fans will too.”

Sadiq, who joined Rangers on loan from AS Roma over the summer, was given a rare start in attack due to Alfredo Morelos and Kyle Lafferty being unavailable. It was a big call by Gerrard given the Nigerian international had made only three appearances this season and it didn’t pay off.

Rangers welcome back Morelos and Lafferty to the fray, meaning Sadiq will likely be sidelined for their upcoming clash at St Mirren.

Stats from Transfermarkt.