Does ‘Route 1’ football have a place at Ibrox?


With criticism of Rangers’ tactics in recent weeks being fuelled by some under-par performances and the first draw of the Warburton era at Ibrox, many fans have called into question Rangers’ perceived ‘overplaying’ of the ball and apparent insistence on walking the ball into the net.

The football has indeed been very ‘pretty’ at times, but its effectiveness has most certainly been diluted by saturated defences determined to snuff out the danger and provide a mountain of men for Rangers to try to break down.

Consequently that old Plan A Plan B cliché from Warbs has rather haunted the man, and while fans still trust him and his judgement, a few more questions are being posed of Rangers’ boss than used to be.

The question is, is an alternative tactic viable under him? Can Rangers employ route 1 football if need be to break down stubborn defences when playing through them simply does not work?

The big problem with this method is Rangers’ glaring lack of height outwith the centre-backs. Only Rob Kiernan actually has significant ability in the air, and nothing sums Rangers’ poverty in this area more than a mere solitary headed goal all season due to keeping the ball on the deck most of the time.

In short, pun intended, Rangers are short.

That headed goal v Queens from Martyn Waghorn came as a result of trying a bit of a Plan B – of going more route 1 and getting balls into the air into the box.

It worked – but since then that kind of play has been completely absent.

On many levels this philosophy is admirable – Warburton wants pure football, and you have to praise that approach – but sometimes it will not win you a hard game of football and it becomes necessary to resort to more brute force tactics.

Rangers did that day v James Fowler’s men, but have not since.

With that draw at Livi still haunting everyone of a Rangers persuasion, St Mirren come to Ibrox tomorrow smelling a tiny whiff of blood. They provided a tough challenge last time they came over, and we can be sure the same again will be presented.

So, does Warbs’ swallow his pride if need be and go for the ‘ugly’ football should it be required to break St Mirren (or anyone else) down?

Only he knows if he will, but if it is needed, one would hope he will make the right call.


  1. The header again QoS was hardly route 1! It came from a corner taken short (as normal) and then a good cross floated in from the wing. I don't think we are adverse to putting in crosses. Clark scored recently from a similar cross. Waghorn missed a good chance against St Johnstone from a similar cross. I just don't think what we did for that goal against QoS was that radically different to what we've done most of the reason. We do put in a few high crosses now and again. Having an option of a striker better in the air that what we currently have would be good though but that doesn't imply it needs to be "route one" football.

  2. I still like the way we are playing but when we get near the box we have to shoot more at goals instead of trying to walk it in WATP LOL.

  3. The opposition dictate how gers play 2 flat 4s shut down gers too easily as hibs proved frustrate us and push us back .teams are now starting to read us so a need to change things is a must or better quality players coming in would be better for the long term

  4. The guy has been in the job for 5 months and now there is talk of going down the route 1 approach. What is that all about?? Especially since the fans have been begging for us to totally build from scratch and a new football philosophy!! Give the guys time were only in November remember!! We have seen enough long ball merchants the last few years let's enjoy the football on show. It might take a bit more time but we're getting there. It's sounding a bit like the journalists from yesterday to be honest.

  5. Couldn't disagree more with this article.3 long painful years ago was our time to blood and raise a young hungry team but we know what happened next.
    We now have a coach/manager who believes (at last!!!) in playing football the way it should be played and results having backed up his philosophy.
    Doing plan A better is the ONLY plan B,C,D etc that should be adopted, now and forever more which will benefit our institution for decades and take us back to the good times.
    Building,maintaining and expanding a team full of hungry FOOTBALLING youngsters is the only plan that our hurting,glorious supporters should follow and back 100%.
    10 yard pass to feet over punt up the park.Yes please.

    • Hear hear. We need an actual identity that goes through the whole club that will last for years. Any club wanting to buy one of our younger players will know exactly what they're getting. It's the only way now I'm afraid

  6. with respect, only a football luddite would evaluate the effectiveness of tactics based on headed goals in football today.
    barcelona, arguably the best team on the planet, scored 5 headed goals in season 12-13 and 6 in 13-14.

  7. Gedion Zelalem hit the nail on the head when he said that Rangers just have to move the ball quicker. Rangers were doing that earlier in the season and they were ripping teams apart.
    I noticed that they were not moving the ball as quickly now as they were then. Perhaps that's because players aren't working as hard, off the ball, to create options for the player on the ball. At the start Rangers played like a mini Barcelona. They were all working their socks off when they were off the ball. The guy on the ball had two, three, even four options at times.
    Of course, you're not going to get the ball played to you all the time. You might make 10 darts into space but get the pass only once or twice. But you're giving your team mates options as well as dragging the opposition all over the place and draining them physically.
    Rangers used to score a lot of goals in the last 15 min or so. That's stopped. I think it's because we have dropped off the work rate off the ball, lessening the options, and consequently the ability to move the ball quickly.
    I don't know if young Gedion has come to this conclusion on his own, or the coaching staff are making these comments. Either way, he's dead right.

  8. Great result but at times wasn't sure, my nephew plays for st mirren and I won't name him but he played today and he is on £425 a week and he had good game our players don't look sol class yet, don't want to slam us WATP

  9. Everyone has seen this but it makes it more embarrassing as the young arsenal boy at only 18 has stated this , he had good game today was screaming at players can we sign him? WATP

  10. I Fucking hate Celtic and was smiling when Ajax pumped them, hope the two Celtic boys that are in serious condition will be ok and the other lads too, they weren't casuals and got caught up in it, that's wrong and not football, no place in Glasgow for these scum

  11. Gedion got a rocket up his ass by warbs today you could tell in his play he was faster more observent and shouting at players and that's an 18 year old, he is looking better again thanks to our great management, Warburton says if you don't want to play for Rangers leave but bet he won't he got offered Fulham job and feelers were out for Qpr job and warbs said f off, he will leave eventually but when he does he will leave us in a better place, warbs isn't interested in money, he has principles WATP

  12. I don't think there's anything wrong with playing Plan A football, where I think we need to improve is we need more power in our play. teams are lying back in 2 banks of four just defending 'the pass', we need to have players drive past defenders giving the defensive arrangement a problem, do they come to the driving player, leaving a hole or let him come on? More of that from the players we have would create more goals. we are not a big team in terms of physical size but we have to learn to be more physical and more determined to 'want it'. I feel that both Zelalem and Oduwa are found wanting here, so too can McKay be lightweight. we have a great management team, a great football philosphy now and players who are capable…lets add power both on and off the ball.

  13. Hate having oduwa and zeledem, if they play rubbish then no one is interested and if they play well Arsenal and spurs will call them back, do we really need these guys to win this crap league??????? Will we ever sign them? Warbs is the man and in him I trust but Dave king?????????????????????? Where's the cash?

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