Thursday, 28 April 2016

Analysis: Rangers' alarming form slump



With just over three weeks to go till the Scottish Cup Final, Rangers had expected to approach the national game’s showpiece event in buoyed mood with the league sown up, the Petrofac Cup already clinched and of course that mammoth cup win over Celtic.

Instead, form since that Hampden semi final has been alarming at best and absolutely pitiful at worst; the loss at Easter Road was dismissed understandably as a hangover from the huge efforts in Mount Florida, but the two results which followed against the division’s worst two sides gave serious cause for concern. A dismal draw at Ibrox against long-time bogey side Alloa who sit proudly at the bottom of the table having already been relegated to League 1, and then Tuesday’s atrocity – losing at the Toni Macaroni Arena (of all places) to the truly horrific Livingston.

It is worth pointing out this is not a ‘wur doomed’ analysis, but calling a ‘calling it like it is’ one instead: Rangers have been worse than terrible since they outplayed Celtic in Glasgow’s south side. The defence has conceded five goals in three matches, and if not for ‘keeper Wes Foderingham, would have shipped many more besides.

And even more worryingly, preceding last Sunday week’s wonderful win, the Ibrox men had a run of three matches in a row where three goals were conceded each.

There is a massively soft centre with Mark Warburton’s men right now, and it is evident the spine needs serious TLC. Going into a cup final suffering this form is truly red flag material, and it is with a slight hint of desperation that fans are eagerly anticipating a return to form at St Mirren Stadium on Sunday – for arriving at SFA HQ next month on the back of the kind of form we have witnessed the past few matches would be extremely bad preparation indeed.

This is not to say the achievements of the past three weeks have suddenly been discarded; as the opening to this article mentioned, lest we forget, The Magic Hat’s men nailed the league, cup and Celtic all within 12 days. It is just the utterly incomprehensible slump that has followed which raises more than a question or two.

Many argue that Rangers are in first gear during unimportant matches and they will be up for it come the final; but others counter that saying that with the nature of downing tools so dramatically after such a high, it is very difficult to pick them back up for a massive occasion. Indeed, many point to the 93/94 season as an example – Rangers had a Scottish Cup final v Dundee Utd, but downed tools dramatically in the league having already won it, and lost two of the last three, drawing one, before losing to the Arabs in the final. Sound familiar?

It is a real concern that the side is currently in such disappointing form, with very few players looking ‘at it’ right now; the likes of Halliday, Wilson, Kiernan, and O’Halloran especially look distinctly off the pace and in dire need of a holiday.

Rangers have a closed-door friendly with English giants Tottenham Hotspur later next month in preparation for the final, a clash which probably formed parts of the Oduwa and Ball loan deals. This is hopefully a chance for Warbs to iron out the bugs and gets his machine firing again.

Because as it presently stands, with this form, Rangers would stand no chance of winning the cup.


15 comments:

  1. We have so many chances to pull the trigger but we take a touch or look for the pass. McKay showed what we can be capable of when we have a ping at goal.

    An Albertz is required 30 yards from goal. The players need to grow a pair and take responsibility. There's been no 'hunger or desire' since the celtic game.

    Bring in a fear factor!!

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  2. There has been a fundamental change in attitude. Do many players now think they are underpaid for such a " high achieving" season. Surely Wilson in particular will be let go next month. He is a slow but very lazy individual. Throughout the whole season on numerous occasions he will leave a demanding situation to another Rangers player.He is not the only one by any means but his glaring cause of goals for the opposition peeves me off immensely. Holt is an example of a guy who has determination in spades and must wonder at times is all his effort worth it with such low contributions from Wilson, Law etc.

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  3. I think they let up a bit after celtic game ,and are now having a hard time getting back on track .

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  4. Prior to celtic win results were not great either,form slump really worrying and longer than people think.Hopefully bigger squad will get team to play out last fixtures better than this year. We need to play out seasons ,this squad showed they couldn't quite get there due to numbers in squad. What do you think guys, results are what counts and we failed on this aspectand wont get easier next year.

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  5. Stage Two of Warbs plan has got to involve having youth players capable of coming into the first team to freshen things up when players go stale or need a rest. Would love to see a young 18 year old Gough coming through and maybe the next one is there?

    If he is going to run a small squad, and I agree he should, then quality youths are vital.

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  6. Stop panicing. Why risk injuries in the last remaining meaningless games. Yes its disappointing to lose games, but the job is done league wise. Lets keep the squad injury free for the cup final. I'm sure the Warbuton and the players will be ready for the challenge on the day,,, if you want cheered up, watch the Hampden semi-final against the beggars,, Just calm down!!

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  7. just a question ,I read on Rangers website end of last month or this month that Rangers had already purchased the signing of that boy Knox from Livingston ,but they said at the game Tuesday they were interested in signing him.

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  8. Rangers won`t just win the cup I expect them to thrash Hibs,in the Hibs game schoolboy errors cost us,as for the Alloa game I have witnessed these results after the league being won many a time,Tuesday night whilst disappointing was a mixture of half the automatic choices missing and a apirited performance from Livingston.Kiernan,Holt and McKay along with Waghorn and Forrester will all play in the cup final if fit,that is half the outfield team.

    If Martyn Waghorn and Harry Forrester make the cup final I fully expect the Scottish Cup Final 5 goal record winning margin to be beaten

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  9. Losing to Hibs may be the blessing in disguise we need. too many in the stands think that beating a very poor celtic on penalties makes us a good team , it makes us as bad as them and lets not forget we created next to nothing , couldn't defend set pieces and for all the possession they had the more clear cut chances, we could have easily lost. These players are not good enough to meet Rangers ambitions but the board will not spend if it thinks the fans will be happy sneaking past an east end mob in disarray. They have got a new manager and without us beating them that wouldn't have happened, we have 2 teams that are happy to milk the fans with minimum investment. I would say there are only 3 or 4 players that are anywhere near the standard we need, the rest look ok in the second tier because that is their level.

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    Replies
    1. Around this time last year Motherwell 6-1 Rangers.

      We have beaten Scotland's 'top' side with a weakened squad entering the national cup final and we've won the league comfortably.

      I'm furious that Warbs has dropped standards. I'd fine the players for not having an attempt on goal. 35 minutes without a shot in the Livingston game

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    2. Get a grip of yourself...or take off your green tinted glasses...fuck off back to your own peado pages....

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  10. I hope waggy makes it for the final but forrester not fit yet,hope that makes a difference see how things go against St Mirren.WATP.

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  11. As a long time Rangers fan and after watching EVERY game,even since 2012....here is my thoughts on the present Rangers side...i think to start we have to think about Magic Hats formula..i dont think that pressing teams high up field is a bad idea and we certainly have players who can do that but when you play like that,you expose your defence and thats where our weakness has been ALL season...if you want to play that way,then you need
    hard-nosed defenders,we dont have that.Wilson and kiernan need decent full-backs...i like Tavernier but with push-upfield stat...hes a weakness and we seem to have major problems when teams break-out.We need a big,strong,fast centre-back and a player that can back up Tarvenier thats fast strong good in defence preferably,tall also..i like Dominic Ball but hes still a young guy...we need someone who has a lot more experience in backing the defence up....MAGIC HAT, is a VERY SMART manager but at times he has to make his team realise ,shots are just as important as passes..and using a long ball..is sometimes the right thing to do,now heres the hard part,getting your players to understand when the timing of these long balls should be used...and also corners SHOULD go straight into the box...i think these changes at times..would help our team...

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  12. fans need to realise the kind of players there taking about wont be playing in the scottish premiership and earning 5-8 grand a week they will be in a top league earning 25-100 thousand a week its nice to dream .i don't envy mark warburton. his budget including wages is between 4.5 and 5.5 million pound that wouldn't buy an average epl player anyone smelling the coffee.

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  13. I just hope the penny dops & they realise they have to make the effort. Holt always puts a shift in but Wilson jeezus he is 1 lazy fkr when its not goin for him, Halliday & Kiernan seem to have dropped there efforts since we beat celtic [ btw how godd does that sound?]
    We need to have a fit Waghorn back possibly Forrester, But I hope they can all be self starters come the final

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