Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst acknowledged the increasing pressure he is under after the 2-1 defeat by St Johnstone left them seven points behind Celtic at the top of the cinch Premiership.
The Light Blues made unwanted history on Tuesday night when their 3-1 home defeat to Ajax saddled them with the worst-ever record in the Champions League – finishing Group A with six straight defeats and a minus 20 goal difference – and there was more pain in Perth.
Saints wing-back James Brown fired in his first senior goal after 41 minutes with a stunning drive and former Rangers striker Nicky Clark grabbed a second in the 62nd minute to leave the visitors reeling and their fans in uproar.
Gers skipper James Tavernier reduced the deficit in the 73rd minute with a drive from the edge of the box but there was to be no comeback and defeat means the visitors have now won just one of their last three games, with their title hopes are already slipping away.
Just over a week short of a year in the job, Van Bronckhorst was asked if there was more focus and pressure on him.
He told Sky Sports: “It is already, the last couple of weeks.
“Of course, a defeat doesn’t help. But we have to continue. It is a tough one to take, the loss we had today.
“I have said it many times. If you lose 2-1 against St Johnstone away, for me there is no excuse.
“We are very disappointed with the result and we need to look forward.
“It is always difficult to take losses, especially when you are the manager and player of a big club.
“You are expected to win, that is obvious, and if you don’t win you are very disappointed.”
Rangers have won just one in their last five matches in all competitions
Van Bronckhorst admitted results were a worry, saying: “Of course, if you drop points it is always disappointing.
“At home to Livingston we lost two points and today we lost three points so that is five points in three league games, that is too much.
“Obviously people are not happy and we are not happy as well. It is what it is at the moment.”
It was St Johnstone’s first home win over Rangers since March 2010 and Callum Davidson welcomed Brown’s first senior goal and a third successive league win for the first time since he took over as Saints boss.
He said: “I haven’t even seen him hit the net in training so that was a surprise.
“He was in the team because he’s a very good one versus one defender so to see him get a goal was fantastic.
“In the second half we were better. We showed more composure. That was the most pleasing aspect of the game for me.
“I lost my captain (Liam Gordon) today. There are a few players who have gone down with a sickness bug.
“And Remi Matthews has a slight injury. Elliot Parish performed really well on his first start in the league.
“Now we need to make sure we don’t rest on this victory. We need to go and do well on Wednesday night (against St Mirren) as well.
“For the fans this is great but for me it’s another three points as we try to climb the league.
“The signs are good but we need to keep our focus. We won’t get carried away.”
Brown, 24, spoke about his landmark goal, telling Sky Sports: “It just dropped and I thought ‘why not?’.
“Sometimes in games like this when you don’t have as much of the ball you need to have a bit of initiative.
“I just struck it and it went in the top corner. That is all I can say.”