Are Rangers Ready for Dundee Utd?

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When you look at the league
stats, and (Forfar aside) cup record, Rangers have been pretty imperious this
season. To have conceded only 15 goals in League One and amassed a Scottish Cup
semi as well as a Ramsdens Cup final along the way is a pretty impeccable
record.
Fact is Rangers have lost one
match in all competitions all season, while drawing only three. That is a
pretty solid record, therefore the question ‘are Rangers ready for Dundee Utd’
may seem, to the uninitiated, like a borderline tautology. However, Rangers
fans know different, and while the stats tell one story, along with manager
Ally McCoist, the product on the pitch tells quite another.
Ally said at the weekend:
            “If you listen to
someone enough times you’ll believe them. There’s been some nonsense spoken
about us this season. We’ve won this league on merit, and we’ve played great
football.”
McCoist is of the impression his
Rangers side is playing good football, and that forces the conclusion he
believes it will provide a real challenge to Dundee Utd. How accurate is that?
The horrible truth is Rangers
this season, while undeniably an improvement on last season, have not been
especially impressive overall. There were some excellent wins, such as 6-0 at
the Excelsior, that 8-0 over Stennie, and a comfortable 4-0 at East End Park. Even this year we saw Templeton
and Shiels burst to life in a very productive January, and some of February
too, but it seems a stretch to say Rangers have produced countless excellent
performances. Ally is correct, we have won the league on merit. But he is not
correct to say we have played great football, unless he means ‘occasionally’.
So, we finally get the SPL tie in
the Scottish Cup that we have waited for. A grudge match against a side with
whom Rangers have more than one axe to grind, and that feeling is thoroughly
mutual. Dundee Utd currently sit fourth in the SPL, win 7 wins in their past 8
matches. That is a purple patch, with only one defeat from St Johnstone
blotting their copy book. They are no mugs.
They are also two leagues ahead
of Rangers, and the byword about their artillery is ‘pace’. Their midfield and
attack have an abundance of speed, epitomised by winger Gary Mackay-Steven,
while Rangers will be thankful last year’s brace-scorer at Tannadice, Johnny
Russell, has moved onto pastures new. However in controversial Turk Nadir Çiftçi
Utd certainly have options.
Unfortunately, Rangers’ defence
is the team’s weakness, as is the current drastic downturn in form over the
past 6 weeks. It is no lie to observe that Rangers’ displays over the past
month and a half have been, by and large, miserable, with a complete lack of
guile, pace, energy and tactical awareness abundant to anyone watching our
matches.
With only Richard Foster showing
any kind of form in defence, MacKay-Steven, Çiftçi and others could have a
field day given how absolutely shocking central defence is at Ibrox. Mohsni has
completely lost form, while McCulloch is no defender. I have covered these
issues previously and will not re-tread them. However Lee Wallace has also
picked a horrendous time to lose form as well, meaning that if a team better
than the usual opponent shows up at Ibrox, for example, Dundee Utd, unless
Rangers’ midfield dominates possession and the likes of Black, Law, et al
manage to protect our backline by keeping the ball, it could be a very long
match for the Rangers faithful. Of course if neither of those two are even
available (injury), and they themselves are
hardly sparkling either, then Rangers’ midfield will potentially be Peralta and
Hutton. And that does not bear thinking about.
It would be wonderful to see
Rangers prove me completely wrong, and step up everything for this match. We
need to see our Rangers beating an SPL side.
Unfortunately, my true gut instinct
is that, football-wise, Utd are simply far superior, and with our soft-centred
rearguard, it could be an absolute mauling.
I pray I am wrong.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Good points. I cannot stress the importance of getting Templeton back fit to play instead of Aird. I'd consider Faure over McCulloch, also. We're going to need big performances from Shiels, Law, Black, Wallace (injuries permitting), and play with pace and precision. An opportunity for a big win, or a massive defeat.

  2. I agree that the new year game at East End Park was as good as it has been since the troubles begun, but since then we've been rubbish. Again, I agree that the loss of form from our best player has almost paralysed our left hand side, and eighty percent of our attacks with pace.
    I didn't even see our first and Brechins goals on Sunday as I was talking to folk from other busses and missed them. Thats how poor it was.
    But I wouldn't be overly frightened of Dundee Utd either. Yes they are on a good run, but they are no great shakes.
    Let the anti Rangers media hype them up, but let the Rangers faithful stand strong and be heard. We've overcome so much more difficult hurdles in our illustrious past, with worse teams, and a worse manager.
    I will be buzzing about this game when it comes, and although I'm not overly confident, I won't be giving up. At least Ross Perry won't be running into Cribari after thirty seconds this time.

  3. A few weeks ago with a full fit squad I thought we were in with a shout against Dundee United, but if we have to go up against them minus Templeton, Law, Black and Little in the squad, plus the somewhat scary perfomances recently from Moshni makes me very scared we could take a real tanning.
    If we have any chance against Dundee Untd. we need to have all our best 'Premier League' players not only available but operating at 100%. More than often recently we are only seeing three or four players playing to full potential, hence the poor performances. We need a foucussed, determined team on the park when we play in the semi-final with set tactics and a plan B.
    Have we had that this season? The plain and simple answer is no!
    I personally don't think we are ready for Dundee United. I hope with all my heart I am wrong, all I hope for is at least we give a good performance and we come out of the game with some pride left.
    Maybe on the back of winning the Ramsdens Cup might be a boost and I am not even confident in winning at Easter Road either, but it is a good trial run to playing agains United at Ibrox.
    Set the team up in a 4-5-1 formation, with the middle midfield player giving protection for the back four, almost a 4-1-4-1 formation, but keeping the two wide players on the flanks to stop them overlapping and enough in midfield to prevent them breaking through the middle. With our wingers wide we can play on the counter and hopefully supplt Daly with chances with him facing goal, instead of diagonal punts to him with back to goal 25 yards out.
    Of course thats my opinion, not all will agree and some disagree vehemently. My only wish is to win the Ramsdens and boy-oh-boy would'nt it be fantastic to collect the Scottish Cup at the piggery.

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