The harsh reality of Rangers’ current form

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This site pointed out Hibs’ threat to Rangers some weeks ago and received ridicule for it, and then emphasised the issue only a few days ago this time to more agreeable reaction.

Now Stubbs’ men are level on points with Mark Warburton’s struggling side and building up a head of steam.

While it is true Rangers have a ‘free’ game with three points, that Hibs have decimated what should have been an 11 point gap down to zero is a collapse reminiscent, sadly, of the similar one McCoist lost in 2011.

“This site just lost all credibility” say all the Warburton fanatics who are probably reading this wondering who the ‘tim’ is who is comparing Warburton to McCoist.

I agree – Warburton is a far better manager overall, with more pleasing football on the eye, but remember this from a few months ago?

And damningly he has now lost a colossal lead.

Rangers’ display at Almondvale yesterday sums up the form of the past two months – tiki tika to death but a complete inability to take chances and a fragile defence. Add to that the simple and blunt truth that teams have figured Warburton’s tactics out and while there are more wins than other results in recent times, the style has rarely been convincing.

Mark Warburton needs to introduce some new tactics. Every match is following the same pattern and it has become ridiculously predictable:

4:3:3 – dominate the ball and pass pass pass – every so often a horrifying scare at the back as a simple ball defeats the defence or fails to be cleared properly. Goal. Or not. More than once. Rangers may have scored during all this, they may not have.

But on 60 minutes a sub or two – usually Shiels, Miller or Clark. Yesterday, again, Kenny Miller was brought on for the ineffective Oduwa, and again, Kenny Miller, three months without a goal, showed why he cannot score. And why Clark, languishing on the bench having scored a few in recent times, would have been astoundingly frustrated.

Waghorn again shunted out wide to accommodate Miller. Waghorn again wasted out there.

Warburton fans, the ilk who suggest he can do no wrong (as opposed to those who are just starting now to ask a few questions), argue we just need a striker who can take chances. With all due respect, is free-scoring Martyn Waghorn not our striker?

Rangers are currently in a bit of a rut. The odd better display aside, Warbs’ men are not producing the goods, not any more.

And yesterday was the first time there has been no get out of jail card against a stuffy weaker team who stubbornly refuse to be rolled over.

This entry probably sounds like it is absolutely slaughtering Warburton – it is not intended to – but facts are facts and the man has to admit his smoothly-oiled machine is desperately in need of some WD40.

A new plan is needed, because Plan A has now been sussed. A different formation, or different players to freshen things up. For all Warbs’ has preached about it being about the whole squad, and players seeing a ‘pathway’ to the first team, a great number of them do not get a look in or assurances they can stay in the team.

The Airds, Laws, Shiels, Hardies etc remain constant squad fodder and never get a chance to hold a first-team slot no matter how well they do as subs.

The criticism of Warburton is fair – he is not beyond reproach. It is up to him to find an alternative strategy, get the form and results back and show what a brilliant boss we all know he is.

He might know football better than I know my own hand and might be smarter than me and everyone I know times infinity, but we can all see things are not as swimming as they were.

Mark, over to you.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Our system is based on Warburton thinking that other teams are going to play the same open style football as we do. Eleven men behind the ball is something we are not set up for. He has to change for starters give the players permission to shoot from 20yards plus if they get a chance.less meaningless passes. Take risks in losing possession to get forward.Warburton will get it right he only needs to be adaptable to change.

  2. Have to agree with the above, the mark of a "great" manager is the ability to change shape/personnel to suit games to be played. It has been obvious the past 5-6 weeks that teams are going to sit in and not allow Rangers to do as they please, more chances should be taken from outside the box and less meaningless passing, all the passing does is eat up time unless it is in a constructive forward manner

  3. Why do people – who mention stats without telling all the facts – still get employed?

    Facts to acknowledge:
    Rangers were 11pts ahead, yes, but Hibs had played 1 less game, which is completely relevant.
    Hibs are now equal top, but played 1 more, which again, is completely relevant.

    Before yesterday, all that has changed is that Hibs beat Rangers, nothing else. It isn't like Rangers has been on a losing run or anything.
    When Rangers have a game in hand, they're likely to win. When Hibs have a game in hand, they're likely to win.
    So this boring 11 point chat was really just 8. And this current situation is really a 3 point gap.

    Rangers fans may be a bit worried now, but the facts are that Hibs always mess things up. I am a Hibs fan and am used to it.

    • Agree with a Hibee ! Hibs have dropped 8 points, Rangers 5 points. No discussion necessary. Messrs Warburton and Weir will react accordingly I am positive. The need for a strong Hibs is necessary for Rangers progress and development. If we can't surmount them over a season, we are not ready for the next league. Time will tell and Mr Warburton will will rise to the challenge, I am certain and will achieve his target.

  4. I hold my hands up I`ve been surprised by Hibs run of success but that won`t continue,Rangers are on course to win the league,any team in Britain would take our league form of 12 wins and a draw from 14 games and you just might be a little too quick out the starting blocks with your comments lets see what the league looks like after Hibs play Morton and Falkirk

  5. I think our players now have egos the size of elephants. They think they are superstars and never out the media eye, pampered even. They had 4 days off during the international break, which is probably why we have lost the match fitness. Oduwa is now anonymous, Zidane is not producing, our defence is crap, we badly need two lethal strikers that will bury the easy chances that Miller and Waghorn are missing. We have lost many goals from outside the box beause we are not shutting them down quick enough. Somebody should tell Warbuton that possession is nothing without goals. We do lack quality in defence, midfield and upfront,. we are now nearing the end of the year, it wont be long to the end of the season. Those players need a kick in the backside, not days off,,, The goals we are losing have been a disgrace and is costing us points. I agree with the topic, Hibs are a threat, and Warbuton will soon know the wrath of the Rangers fans if we drop any more points, and you know they will!!!!!

  6. Rangers were ahead of hibs "by a country mile" last season and threw that lead away to let hibs rise above them in the championship. A similar gap was developing this season, and that gap has all but gone much earlier in the season. Excluding the "who gives a fac" challenge cup, there is very little between the two teams. Hibs have lost two matches and drawn one in the championship, to rangers single defeat and draw, but hibs have progressed two rounds further in the league cup to top flight opposition. Rangers have improved massively upon last season, but hibs are also a much stronger side than they were last season, and have had more time to gel as a squad. The bottom line is while rangers remain favourites, hibs are hard on their heels and could very easily overtake given the opportunity. It could go to the wire.

  7. This continental football is ok if 2teams go at each other but when the team your playin against sits in with ten men behind the ball you need to b able to change to a 4-4-2. This one up front rubbish with 2 wingers is really getting boring and 2 obvious and with 2 defending midfielders there's not enough players in and around the box too have and take more shots and have more chances on goal. Really struggling to put teams to bed with the lack of players in and around the box. Need to change it before it's too late.

  8. Hugh Walker
    Keep believing. Warburton has done an amazing job. We are playing football that is a a joy to watch. Yes we should be shooting more outside the box but we must persevere with playing quality football . Hibs are a good team but over a season of 36 games, Rangers will show that we have the players to deliver a Championship winning side. The Premiership is a different matter and a 4-1-3-2 formation with a solid central defensive or a 3-5-2 if we still have our present wing backs of James and Lee who are easily our best assets, so far. WATP.

  9. Our play is so predictable teams just sit tight and we run out of ideas Warburton said he would give youth a chance we had one on the bench Kelly the goalkeeper. Who come on as subs Miller and Sheils whats happened to Walsh,Hardie etc Warburton has already told all the other teams that we will be playing a four three three system they know what to expect your team formation and style has to be flexible to address the situations that arise in any games also corners for us are a waste of time we very seldom knock the ball in direct from the corner hence the so few goals from headers so far this season

  10. rangers were 8 points clear going to easter road. agame we didnt need to win. 5 across the middle,stop them scoring we would have buried them. poor tactics.end of.

  11. Rangers were ahead of hibs "by a country mile" last season and threw that lead away to let hibs rise above them in the championship. A similar gap was developing this season, and that gap has all but gone much earlier in the season. Excluding the "who gives a fac" challenge cup, there is very little between the two teams. Hibs have lost two matches and drawn one in the championship, to rangers single defeat and draw, but hibs have progressed two rounds further in the league cup to top flight opposition. Rangers have improved massively upon last season, but hibs are also a much stronger side than they were last season, and have had more time to gel as a squad. The bottom line is while rangers remain favourites, hibs are hard on their heels and could very easily overtake given the opportunity. It could go to the wire.

  12. Do these guys practice shooting from outside the box ? Why do we have to struggle through packed defences? just give it a crack from outside the box now and again .

  13. A defeat from ST Mirren in the training cup,drop more points to Hibs in the league and an early exit from the Scottish Cup to a mid SPFL team and the pressure will be on big time……..on Warburton, perhaps?

    But certainly on King who thanks to Level 5 ' s sustained campaign to wipe the fans memory banks of his investment promises has escaped scot free of any criticism.

    Oh and if you think investment means transfer fees then forget it, it's not going to happen. More free or loan players will come in but for every one coming in one will have to leave……..Tavernier and Waghorn look the favourites to go to bring in some money which will be required to pay our criminal Chairman's latest round of legal fees.

  14. I can't believe all this negativity. We have lost one game we should have had at least one point from, and drawn another when we had 70% possession. No one said we would stroll through the season. W&W have me actually watching all the games again (here in the USA) for the first time in years.
    My biggest concern is Mr King. I remember him saying not that long ago the team needed 20 million pounds investment, and he would fund half of it. The fact he has only given us a small loan is disturbing.
    Also, why not repay Ashley's loan and maybe the fat man would be more willing to renegotiate the Sports Direct contract.

  15. Too late for making peace with Ashley.

    He's out to bury King.

    If Park and the others throw King under a bus then I think we could do business with SD, however with King in situ there is no chance of that.

    Longer term Ashley is the only hope……….Don't be distracted if you see Sarver ' s name appearing anytime soon in the media as our next saviour.

    He's Ashley's man, always has been.

  16. I think some of the off the field stuff is getting to the players. It's natural that there will be chat in the dressing room, particularly on the financial stuff.
    It's similar to the collapse in McCoist ' s first season when the huge points lead was wiped out.

    Fortunately the standard of opposition is not very strong so we should be able to see it out as long as the financial position remains stable.

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