Warburton’s Ibrox debut – the verdict

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Having seen much of Brentford’s
success under Warburton recently, the acquisition of the Bees’ old manager
really was quite a coup. The new boss has been feverish in the transfer market,
rebuilding the team from scratch and tonight’s test in the form of visitors
Burnley, albeit a friendly, would be a very good workout and indication of where
the 52-year old Ibrox manager’s Rangers is at.
After a 90-minute display in
Govan, the verdict has to be:

Promising, but not quite the finished article yet.
Debuts were handed to almost all
the new acquisitions, with only Jordan Thompson remaining on the bench. As
predicted, the defence was Foderingham, protected by a back four of Tavernier, Wilson, Kiernan and
Wallace. The midfield saw Law, Holt and Halliday instead of Thompson, Halliday
and Murdoch, while up front utilised two flankers in Templeton and McKay, with
new signing Waghorn leading the line.
And in truth there was a lot of
good in that first half. The defence looked surprisingly cohesive for a group
of players playing their first serious match together. Kiernan and Wilson
seemed to have a good partnership, with only that one loose ball letting the
side down and slipping past the former Hearts man to allow Burnley
to snatch the win.
Otherwise the defence looked
pretty solid, and while Lee Wallace was rather ordinary, Tavernier was superb,
and easily the best right back Rangers have had since the SPL days. While some
of his passes were a little astray as he cultivates an understanding with
others, his general wing play was impressive, and his defending even better.
Into midfield and after a slow
start Law got going – still not what we would expect, but better. Halliday was
excellent, covering every inch of grass and proving himself a very able holding
midfielder. Holt had a quiet and relatively ineffectual game, and would not win
a deal based on that display alone.
Up front McKay struggled –
looking a pale reflection of the starlet who burst onto the scene in 2012, he
failed to make any real impact on the match, with his counterpart Templeton
only managing to have a brief foray into the match inside 15 minutes, before
disappearing entirely himself.
Waghorn was bright and
hard-working, but sadly his composure was poor, and we are starting to see why
he only got 7 in 29 for Wigan. An honest
player, he works doggedly but struggles to put them away.
Overall the team unit was
actually good – the defence and midfield worked well, with good use of the
ball, sprayed passes and high pressing when chasing. Unfortunately the attack
was pretty toothless, and cries out for a reliable striker Rangers can depend
on. There simply is not one currently in the squad. The wingers also struggled
to impact, and one suspects Warburton has a dilemma of a three-pronged attack
or the two flankers and one striker combination.
The one big disappointment was
once Burnley scored they simply were the
better team. Up till then Rangers looked some of the most free they have in
years, with energetic running, enthusiastic one-twos and overall unity. But
when that goal went in it all seemed to sap out of the players and Burnley stepped up.
The visitors, goal aside, did not
make Foderingham make a worthwhile save, but then, Rangers did not get a single
useful shot on target either. But the visitors, once one-up, controlled the
match and while the hosts had their moments, they were second best thereafter.
This was a friendly, and there is
no judging to be done here, but what we can tell from simple football economics
is Rangers are badly in need, at least, of a striker. Eustace too looks like he
could be a very important signing if he can prove his fitness, as his
experience in midfield will help guide the younger minds around him. Especially
when their heads go down, as they did tonight.
If a good striker can be sought
by Saturday, there is every chance this Rangers team can travel to Easter Road
and overcome Hibs. Otherwise, while the defence will be more solid than we
would normally expect, and midfield far harder working, the lack of cutting
edge up top will make the job a lot tougher.
There is definitely a feeling
Rangers are going in the right direction, but the finish line is not quite in
sight yet.

14 COMMENTS

  1. A fair analysis imho. Our wingers have promise but are not the finished article. Temps has a habit of one good game then disappearing for a couple. McKay still to establish any rythym or reputation.

    Waghorn is enthusiastic, but his stats harbour problems. We need a more clinical finisher. I hoped that Warbs had seen something he could improve in Waghorn. If he hasn't, we are going to need better. Stevie May, anybody? Or a season long loan from an EPL team.

    But, let's not be too down. Its been a time since we had this much to look forward to. Defence looked solid, goal apart. We moved and passed quite fluently and with intention rather than aimlessly.

    Things are looking up – just find us a striker

  2. Your usual negative self ,why change the habit of a lifetime as far as Rangers are concerned.
    You were certainly not at the game I was at we played very well considering it was the first game they have played together,I for one am a happy bear .

  3. Rangers have some tremendous young players. Tavernier, Thompson, Halliday top class tonight. If the team can develop a cut and thrust finish it will complement their possession play. Burnley had time to crowd out the cross balls even allowing for some delightful play on both wings from Rangers. A very good test for this young Rangers team. They did very well, very well indeed. They are a new team with a new system and new players, Give them time, encouragement and watch them soar.

  4. Fukin shite..!!!! Hibs to come, we have said for 5 or 6 weeks we need players bedded in quickly, I have little hope and Warb's excuse will be too late, need time when we laboured probably to save some money… Beaten by a very average young team, much better organised.

    • I agree how many meaningless passes going nowhere. Like past managers somebody needs to draw them a map to show them where the goals are. To have one shot on target the whole game says it all same result different players.

  5. How can you judge Waghorn on his first friendly playing with guys he met yesterday? He looked ok to me, maybe needing a game or two and training sessions to get to know how his team mates play. This guy will score goals, plus if you add Miller, Clark, Hardie and Gallagher, how many strikers do you need in a squad that is only going to play with one through the middle and two wingers?

    I think a choice of five strikers is enough, thank God this Manager believes in youth and a smaller squad instead of signing players we don't need. As for Waghorn, give the guy more than one friendly the day after he signs before judging the guy.

  6. Jordan thompson came on with all the other subs & took hallidays place & I was really impressed by the boy great left foot watched the game on Rangers tv think you were at the game & had a few sherbets before it, I disagree with you on waghorn he had some great touches & was very unlucky not to score, gilks had an outstanding save from him & he was sharp as a tack to the rebound & was fouled from behind to which we should have had a penalty but of course we had a Scottish ref so that was us fucked, I will stick my neck out & say waghorn will finish top scorer in the league he had great movement & lost his marker easily at times, what impressed me the most was how much fitter our players that were there last season looked thought Kenny Miller looked a lot sharper along with Wallace & law

  7. Without a proven goal scorer you are never going to win games, bout time king got his wallet out

  8. Thought that although all 3 midfielders were good on the ball and were busy they didn't accomplish much in way of service to the front 3. Hopefully this will improve over time however they didn't offer much of a platform to the 2 wingers which resulted in very few opportunities for the main striker.

  9. I'd go for Adam Rooney, we should have resigned Kane hemmings, get your wallet out king, we can't win games without a goal scorer WATP

  10. I go to every game home and away been on here loads of times,….was there last night …allys lads law shiels McKay temps Clarke zaliukas even Wallace can all leave by Aug 31st. ..they looked way off the pace of the new,boys …3 years in part time leagues has left them well behind in fitness and touch ….get them out now as none will be able to fit into new,system ….mccoist has ruined them all ….

  11. An improvement for sure but Burnley had 5 development players in their team so they were nothing near full strength.
    Waghorn has scored 37 goals in 189 senior games….a ration of one goal every 5 games, granted that he would have been playing at a higher level than Alloa or Cowdenbeath so more goals should be a given.
    WRT to the poster who said King should be getting his wallet out…….did you not see the Sky interview?
    No mention of over investment or spending whatever it takes as pledged recently by TGASL……None at all, but he clearly made the point that he expects the fans to spend more to close the gap with Celtic.

    If anyone was in any doubt as to what King says and what he actually does, this is typical. He seems to open his mouth and has no shame about telling porky after porky.

    His pre EGM promises and post EGM actions completely contradict each other.

    Lied about the Nomad, lied about delisting, lied about the share issue, club assets encumbered because he and the 3 bears can't find £5m to pay off Ashley.

    Whilst things on the park will certainly improve, it's got nothing whatsoever to do with King.

    So far any money spent is coming from ST money…..what happens when that runs out as there is no other significant income streams?

    What happens when Ashley gets serious about getting his loan repaid….for sure this time he won't be asking nicely!

  12. Was at the game last night and thought all but one of the players tried hard and are buying in to the new manager's ways .Well done to them all they can get better together, time for Zaliukas to go he was a joke at h/t let the other sub's down with his totally unprofessional manner.

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