Saturday, 19 March 2016

The night Rangers learned a harsh lesson



With the kind of form Rangers had been in up to last night’s visit to the Falkirk Stadium, while complacency would be unforgiveable, a sense of optimism at recent results and chances of taking all three points from Peter Houston’s men was more than understandable.

Having destroyed Premiership Dundee in recent weeks while putting away the likes of Raith Rovers, St Mirren and Morton around the same time, Rangers’ present form was looking formidable, as was the lead they had in the table amounting to 14 points over second-placed Falkirk.

And when Barrie McKay’s early second found the back of the net inside 15 minutes last night, it looked like becoming a cricket score. The play was smooth and flowing, the defending stout, and the fullbacks were flying.

Only, instead of asserting their vast superiority with a third and a fourth goal, Rangers committed two diabolical sins – one was the fault of the players, the other of the manager.

The first failing was most of the players completely taking the foot off the gas in a rather foolish manner – that complacency would have been staring an irate Warburton in the face, and as the team continued to fade, their hosts came into it more and more, and became much more threatening.

Having witnessed this subtle turnaround, Warbs’ deployed his first substitution around the 60 minute mark, removing McKay and replacing him with Forrester. It made little difference, but the next batch of substitutions most certainly did – the best player on the pitch, Kenny Miller, found himself inexplicably taken off and replaced by the perennially ineffective Nicky Clark, while winger Billy King was hooked in favour of Michael O’Halloran.

But it was the removal of Miller which was most baffling – with the striker playing a slightly deeper role, his movement created holes the Titanic could fit through at the Bairns’ rearguard – and that pattern continued all match while Miller was on.

It would be tough to recall this many offsides with Miller pulling defenders forward leaving space for the McKays and Holts to run onto – and this tactic helped glean Rangers’ goals.

Removing Miller was simply a mistake which arguably significantly contributed to losing Rangers the three points. The players themselves had already blown the lead thanks to sloppy play at the back from both Dominic Ball then Rob Kiernan, but the removal of Miller changed the forward dynamic completely and forced the visitors into slower possession attack rather than the incisive cutting edge his presence had given them.

Warburton stood by those substitutions, to his credit, admitting he and assistant David Weir thought they were the correct tactical alterations to make but equally suggesting they might not have been. 

In the end, yet more dreadful defending saw McHugh nab all three points and bring a heady Rangers and their support down to earth a little.

The most worrying aspect last night was how a decent team putting sustained pressure on a normally resolute rearguard forced the likes of Ball, Wilson and particularly Kiernan into some awful mistakes – mistakes which cost them dear.

While Rangers should still win the league, this was a valuable lesson that they still have work to do to attain consistency and a competitive quality ready for the Premiership. The defence remains a little worrying when better teams really go for it, and to concede 3 goals in one night is alarming. The only other side to have managed three against the Ibrox men this season is of course the impressive St Johnstone.

It is worth reiterating Rangers’ play till around 50 minutes really was as lush as anything they have managed this season – but as complacency set in, so did Falkirk, then mistakes.

Last night was a crucial lesson, one to be taken seriously and learned from.

29 comments:

  1. Best result all season before this game was Falkirk 2-1 Rangers! We woke up and delivered a terrific run of results.

    We desperately needed a reality check otherwise Celtic would provide that for us next month.

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    1. fuk tic we fear no one WATP

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    2. Hey Scootpad, last time I checked it wasn't Rangers who hid pedophiles and obstructed justice.

      I'd be pretty embarassed if I was you. But your lot have no moral compass.

      As for the usual 'new club' jab - I'm not suprised that you are so epistemically ignorant. Tell me, do you also believe that the earth is flat?

      It's as if you think that chanting these words over and over like an idiot savent will make them true. Quite funny.

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    3. you smell like a tim,,when you have watched the team as long as me then come back and talk watp.

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  2. wilson is a bomb scare week after week why do we make do with him, celtic will leave him outside looking for himself am afraid. to be fare he was not the only one travinier has been very slack for a few weeks his passing and first touch has been well below par. big Rob isn't faring much better being forced into errors and easliy pushed off the ball with player half his size the defence needs a major over haul changing personel after the break was our down fall nicky clark contributed very little .
    were defo not there yet a lot of team changes need to get to a level to be able to cope in the top flight if we dont trip ourselfs up on the way there ?

    hibs will have there tails up now with us losing and falkirk claiming a smash and grab 3 points at the death last night .

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    1. Totally agree about Wilson. He should not be playing for Rangers.He moved his body out of the way as the ball was struck for Falkirk's third goal. It would not have passed Bomber or Richard Gough.
      With the twisting and turning the Falkirk sub Heppolyte gave Tavernier he probably ended up sleeping on the floor having fallen out of bed a few times on Friday night.The man is horribly out of position as a defensive fullback.
      Rangers need to replace Tav and Wilson with ball winners.
      Yes MW's substitution of McKay and Miller cost us three points but Tav and Wilson are liabilities that all teams will seek to exploit to the season's end.
      I'll go further, if the opposition double up on Tav Rangers might be in the playoffs.
      As MW keeps saying we haven't won anything yet and last night proved we carry too many lightweights to smugly think we should.

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  3. Whilst we are seeing some great football we must remember that Warburton is himself a work in progress.He has to sort out two areas of the team.Defence is slow and panics when under pressure.Last night proved again pretty football without an end result is a problem all the more surprising Warburton extended Ryan Hardie loan period when we are crying out for more fire power up front.We are going to need defenders who can defend first and foremost in the summer

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  4. mckay and miller where taken of to early,,sure was a kick up the arse for a team playing great football, come on the bears WATP.

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  5. Let's hope we learn those lessons because the ability to defend a lead and control/kill off a game is crucial and by this evidence is Sadly lacking

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  6. From the sublime to the ridiculous. Agree that Miller was causing chaos and at 36 his condition is a testament to him. The defence however still concern. I know we have been quite tight recently but when we go up I would want the hat to strengthen. The team as a whole will learn from this. Still ruined my Friday night though. WATP.

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  7. Complacency dire defending poor substitutions 3 points gone ok we will still win the league Falkirk changed their style and got their rewards Warbs changes nothing style wise and 3 points go a begging

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  8. Just goes to show that all sport is a mind game. Look what happened to Tiger Woods after he had a problem with his second mobile phone!...If only we had scored one in the first half and one mid second half then with a bit of extra luck we would have won 3 nil.This would never have happened. No excuse though for complacency. We were exposed defensively largely due to the fact that we are rarely tested. Hopefully a very valuable lesson learnt. Move on...

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  9. Agree with most of what you say Ibrox noise...McKay and miller were running the show...I know that warbs likes to rotate the squad but he made a big mistake when he changed them for harry and clarky...the rest of the team did get complacent and Rangers just cant afford to do that with teams that dont give up the battle...yes,we should still win the league but we need to learn a hard lesson first...I'me glad you can see how much work that kenny miller gets through...He really is a star for the gers...Dont lose faith fellow bears...Rangers will prevail...WE ARE THE PEOPLE.

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  10. why is a defeat always good for us every time warbo fucks up like last night davie weir says that result is what we needed these guys have to realize a defeat is not a good result

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  11. match is NEVER over till ref blows final whistle.....was very disappointed,though Falkirk deserve credit for not giving up but that was problem for Rangers...they never showed guts when they had too. You know, you never going to win all matches but agree....st need onethe subs didnt show enough and defensively showed , way too much weakness,when teams push hard, ALL players must respond...didnt happen...hopefully it was just a one off, bad game in the end....we have to realise, when a teams down only two goals...just need one to change the game...hope we learned that lesson....RANGERS till i die..!!

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  12. Could be a blessing in disguise. Hopefully wake the players up and give them that Fire again.

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  13. Your points are well made; the saying "if it ain't broke don't fix it" should have been applied by Warburton and Weir. To remove our two best players when we were so much on top was a major error which I hope won't be repeated. Again questions have to be asked about the need to sign a quality holding midfield player as it is evident Ball is not the answer and also an experienced central defender and may be two, as Wilson slows down play when he receives the ball and too often the ball is played back the way when there are forward options; also Kiernan is too erratic and will certainly be found out against better players than he is facing at present.

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  14. said last can never understand why make substutions just to give players a run is a no no mackay being replaced is my gripe to bring on clark for millar was baffeling as well you hope the players you bring on are like for like they are clearly next week will be a difficult since we will be playing without mackay and king

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  15. Ball and Kiernan sold the jerseys last night,, they both handed Falkirk their goals on a plate. They both have been bombscares most of the season, I cant count how many time Kiernan has given the ball away thats cost us goals. We desparately need a big strong talented centre half next season, not want,,but NEED!!,,we also need finishers,, I really hope Clark is shown the door at the end of the season, he offers nothing other a goal here or there, not good enough... Every time we have been defeated, you see we have 20 shots on target,, I'm no sports scientist, but even a blind man can see how bad our defending and finishing is,, as for Fodders,dont rate him, I'm disappointed the big polish lad never got a chance,, Celtic will pump us because of our defence, you know it, I know it,, they have height,,we dont!!! Last night reminded of McCoists team in the second half,, not good enough,,, now hibs can get to 8 points to us,, you'd be stupid to think this league is over!!!

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    1. ??? They have height. Point being? They're shite I'm telling you

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  16. Small margins are what make all the difference and whilst the substitutions did not serve us particularly well it was the defence thinking they are worldbeaters that cost us. Started by Wallace with a foolish pass across his backline about 55mins in - defenders should know never to do that.
    If Tavernier's goal - how could the linesman ever see that as offside, an truly unbelievable decision, was allowed we would have been out of sight within the first 10 mins.

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  17. I think this game just like the earlier fixture away to Falkirk highlighted we are lacking in vital positions that are needed to play 4-3-3.The most vital positions are goalkeeper,the two centre backs and the defensive midfielder.These positions are vital to playing 4-3-3.
    Wes Foderingham is top notch,Rob Kiernan and Danny Wilson is a partnership that worries me,Wilson is too casual and I`d play Kiernan with Dom Ball in centre of defence every time.The defensive midfield position has been a problem all season and to be fair if the John Eustace deal had worked out I think Rangers would have been unbeaten in the league all season.That is the position that must be sorted for next season.

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  18. Dreadful result. That was the league won last night if we had managed to hold onto the victory. Im now dreading taking on Septic as we look really fragile at the back.

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  19. Well i for one am pleased falkirk beat us. We have already won the championship tbh, and if falkirk beating us helps them pip hibs to second then by all means. And like a few people have already said, that should be our insentive to not come off the gas pedal untill the ft whistle blows. Celtic scraped a 90th minute 1-0 win against second bottom today so are we really worried. Falkirk were the kick up the arse we needed. Alot of u are forgetting this is that young gers teams first season playing together, and the majority are budget players, and we are strolling it. Too many too quick to jump on the band wagon

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  20. Last night was a blessing in disguise hopefully learn another lesson before we play the wheel trim thieves.still a new team and management these things have to happen to get better WATP

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  21. Get a grip we will win this man. A year ago every single one of us would take it. I'm very happy with what's happening

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  22. Don't let us forget Millar is36 and playing on plastic is bad over 90 Min.Kiernan ,Tavy, and Wilson are the problem in defence ,how often are we wide open in the middle and the left hand side. Iwwt

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  23. Some real knee-jerk reactions here.

    Keirnan has been very solid all season, and improving each month. He will do well next season. Ball as well if we can get him on a free. Wilson has been inconsistent, but has been improving as of late.

    Yes, it was a horrible 45 minutes. But it will light a fire under their asses.

    Three or four key signings for next season and we will be competing for the top.

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