Rangers Taught a Lesson in Composure by United

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I cannot deny the last blog entry
bordered on suicidally pessimistic. Dampened as I was by the news that joining
Lee Wallace and David Templeton on the injury list was goalkeeper Cammy Bell,
arguably Rangers were missing their best three players for yesterday’s Scottish
Cup semi final versus Dundee United.
I feared a real rout, sensing how
pacy players like Ciftci and MacKay-Steven could potentially decimate Rangers’
defence, struggling as it has been, and shredded as it was last week by Raith
Rovers in the Ramsden’s Cup final.
Yet, to give both the players and
Ally McCoist real credit, the team had a damn good go for the first 45 minutes.
It was by no means an epic performance, but there was a slight rise in quality
in midfield compared with recent weeks, and a massive hike in attitude,
industry and effort.
Indeed, until Utd scored their
opener, Rangers could justifiably argue they matched and even exceeded their
Dundonian counterparts.
The problem with Rangers
yesterday was not the effort, tactics or even general performance, it was the
glaring exposure of what the Ibrox side currently lacks in abundance against
better sides; composure.
Jon Daly, Bilel Mohsni and
significantly Dean Shiels all had gilt-edge chances to put Rangers ahead, but
each and every one of them flubbed their lines embarrassingly. It very much
reminded me of how Milan
recently dominated Juventus in a huge match in Serie A, but despite all their
possession, the Rossoneri had absolutely no conviction in the final third and
it was a Pirlo goal for the Juventini which broke home hearts just before half
time.
Rangers were the same. Overall
they arguably had the best of the first half, except where it really counts.
Plenty of hard-working tackling and pressing in midfield and a lot of passing
the ball around, but zero killer instinct up front. It was as if, given a
chance to score, Rangers’ players were like rabbits in headlights and literally
did not know how to finish off at a higher level than League 1.
Add to that the predictable mistakes
in defence from Smith, Mohsni, and Simonsen, and it is pretty clear that
Rangers are a mile behind the level needed to compete at the top of the SPL.
We wanted a barometer of where we
really are, well yesterday we saw it. It was by no means a poor effort, by no
means a slaughtering from the designated away side, but they took the chances
they got and exposed that predictably vulnerable Rangers defence, while
Rangers’ only real shot on target was indeed Smith’s fine goal. From a set
piece.
In open play Rangers did not
trouble Cierzniak once bar a deflection, and it was in truth a stunning save
which goalkeepers in League 1 tend to be incapable of.
Truth is Rangers gave this match
everything they had, and it just was not good enough. Simonsen’s error made no
difference except to the score. Rangers would not have scored in open play had
the match still been going now. He did get a fair bit of stick by some fans who
wanted to apportion blame to someone, which is understandable, but I would like
to hope they will calm down and look at the real picture in the morning, which
is that this Rangers side has a massive amount of work to do in the years ahead
to even become a mid-table SPL side, never mind challenging Celtic for the
title.
As for individuals, I did not
agree with McCoist choosing Shiels over Clark
nor selecting Peralta at all, but to give the Honduran his due, he played very
well and worked extremely hard. First time for everything…
As for Shiels, poor. After his
bright form in January he has struggled to show anything and it is no surprise
he has not scored away from Ibrox in over a year now.
Law also struggled again.
Marginally better than he has been for months, he still lacks anything like the
quality he hinted at during the trialist period, suggesting he simply is not up
to the demands of playing for a club as big as Rangers.
Finally Ally McCoist. He got his
team up for this, but unfortunately he was unable to work anything at half time
and Utd broke up the game while Rangers were completely unable to string two
passes together as the Arabs’ war of attrition forced the Ibrox men into errors
and loss of concentration.
As far as battle of the bosses
went, McNamara owned McCoist. Even if Utd got a little luck with their second
goal, the difference in tactical approach, second half especially, had McNamara
way ahead. He sent out his troops to contain a storm in the second half which
did not arrive, mainly because his midfield was constantly mobile and moving to
intercept every pass Rangers tried to make.
The ‘home’ side just became too
static and McCoist did not make the necessary changes to rectify that.
The one positive overall is that
the damage was not too severe, but it is no lie to say Rangers got a lesson in
where they are, and how far they have to go before they are where they want to
be.
And that will take a lot of time
and hard work.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Reckon we should be scouring the lower leagues in England for three or four big solid defenders , there seems to be an abundance of them down there who could be acquired at reasonable cost . Ally needs to have a total clear out in the close season as there are not many of the current crop who are anywhere near Rangers class .

  2. Most of the players we have are not good enough to play for us, time to cut down by 50% to at least a pool of around 30 slashing the wage bill, we have such a large pool of players on the books that are not fit to wear the jersey.

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