Highlights: Hearts 1-0 Rangers
Steven Gerrard said he needs to do some “serious thinking in the next 24, 48 hours” after lacklustre Rangers were dumped out of the Scottish Cup by Hearts.
The quarter-final blow was inflicted three days after he was “the proudest man in Europe” as his side reached the last 16 of the Europa League.
The Ibrox club has yet to win a trophy under Gerrard and sit 12 points off Premiership leaders Celtic.
“I just need to think,” he said.
“I am feeling pain right now because I want to win here, I am desperate to win here. Looking from the side today, I didn’t get the impression that the feeling amongst my players was the same.
“I am not doubting myself. We have given these players everything, me and my staff have given these players absolutely everything for 20 months, held their hand on and off the pitch and improved everything for them.
“But it is tough when every other performance you feel the way you feel. It is tough. I need to analyse myself, for sure. This is the toughest moment I have had since I have come here.
“I think it will be extremely difficult in the short-term (to win trophies) because of where we lie from a league point of view. We all know that we have punched above our weight in Europe so far. This is what I need to analyse in the coming days.
“The plan was to have a day off (on Sunday). I need to think hard about where we are at as a group. I need to do some real, serious thinking in the next 24, 48 hours.”
Oliver Bozanic’s goal won the game for the Scottish top-flight’s bottom side in what is the second triumph over Gerrard’s men at Tynecastle this year.
While the margin was narrow, Rangers looked impotent in attack with Alfredo Morelos dropped for disciplinary reasons. The Colombian, who was suspended for the win in Braga on Wednesday, returned 24 hours late from agreed leave back to his homeland.
However, Gerrard was not prepared to use his forward’s absence as an excuse.
“The performance was nowhere near good enough,” he said.
“On Wednesday night I was the proudest man in Europe because to a man my players were outstanding. Everything we have worked on for nearly two years I could see it on the sidelines and I was proud as punch. It was an incredible performance.
“But today for 90 minutes I didn’t recognise anything.
“It’s my responsibility for that performance. I feel like I’ve majorly let the fans down today. It is not good enough. That is not what I am about. That will come on my shoulders.”
‘Serious question marks’ at Rangers – Steven Thompson
‘We have no time to look back, only forward’
Meanwhile, Hearts counterpart Daniel Stendel said his side’s win was a bittersweet one.
While returning to the last four of the tournament they were the beaten finalists in last year, they will have to try and go on without John Souttar, who suffered an Achilles injury in the first half.
“It was a really deserved win. Especially in possession, it was better than the last game three weeks ago,” said the German.
“This is what we want to change a little bit, the discipline. We’ll make mistakes sometimes, but we cannot make every mistake a goal. We want to see more defending as a team and not every player on their own.
“It’s a really bad moment for [Souttar] and for us. He’s an important player for us but the reality is he cannot play, the season is over for him. We can say it’s bad, but we have no time to look back, only forward.”