Are Rangers ready for the cup final?

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Since the memorable semifinal triumph last month, there is absolutely no doubt Rangers have downed tools. The four matches which followed that stunning win v Celtic were flat, weak, defensively diabolical and not a single win was secured in any of them.

The title party against Alloa was truly feeble, with a miserable display to slightly blot what was an otherwise glorious day in celebrating Rangers’ return to the Premiership. Many fans have played it down, suggesting Rangers will pick it up back up for the cup final, but then the counter argument is to point to English surprise package Leicester and how they strolled their title party against Everton with an easy 3-1 win before lifting the trophy.

Compare that to Rangers failing to overcome already-relegated Alloa on a comparable occasion. I am, of course, not comparing Leicester to Rangers, but just the circumstances – with nothing to play for they still rose to the occasion and delivered a display. Meanwhile Rangers have not delivered anything akin to one since dispatching Celtic.

Manager Mark Warburton will know this. He will know his men have not been at the races since competitive football stopped meaning anything; and as much as many try to disregard the relevance of it, these performances are genuinely worrying in light of facing a Hibs side in around two weeks’ time who will be chomping at the bit to exact revenge on Rangers’ title triumph.

The further worrying notion is that away form has been patchy at best and poor at worst when it comes to facing good sides on our travels. The record is two losses at Falkirk Stadium, two at Easter Road, a scrappy win at Rugby Park and that one outstanding victory v Celtic on penalties.

In all losses, that dodgy defence was cruelly exposed, and one can only hope Warbs has a plan to tighten it up come the 21st.

Before I go on, this article is not meant to be doom and gloom – Rangers are in very good shape with some potentially brilliant signings arriving this summer – with a midfield comprising Matt Crooks, Josh Windass, Jason Holt, and potentially Jordan Rossiter plus others, Rangers’ ranks will not be lacking in quality, especially with the signature of a half-decent centre half.

But in the here and now the form is far from good and to suddenly turn the switch on and be tuned in 100% to the cup final will take some doing.

In Rangers’ defence, however, going into the Hibs win last December 28th, form was also abysmal with only two wins in five leading up to it. But suddenly Rangers showed up v Stubbs’ men and performances returned.

Rangers fans will be hoping that is the case again at the end of the month.

11 COMMENTS

  1. Very realistic piece and this mirrors the concerns of many of us. It's great when big occasions deliver great performances but a question about why that is has to be asked. We want this cup badly, we need this cup to get us into Europe but it will also be a an additional 'sway' factor for those considering plying their trade in Scotland once they have been approached by us. Other than a few notable games you've referred to we haven't played well recently and by that I mean we haven't been incisive. Everybody is happy to watch us play keep ball but goal creation and scoring hasn't been good and our defence has looked shaky and inconsistent, everyone is now aware that possession isn't everything…as Leicester have proved so emphatically. Let's learn the lesson.

    • You have got it one the obsession with possession will be our Achilles heel.Sunderland had only 31% of possession against Chelsea but won three two. We are not nearly as direct as we should be and there is no flexibility to change the system which makes us very predictable to play against.

    • I wonder how Leicester would have played their last game if their players had the FA Cup Final to look forward to?

      Rangers only had 1 competitive match after they secured the league and nobody wanted to be injured for it.

  2. As I have said in the past,that team was put together on the cheap to do a job,and it did the job,which was to get us out of that league and back into the premiership. If we can pick up another cup, especially one that gets us into Europe, great, but if we are going to move on we need some good players. By the looks of things the "Magic Hat" is already busy.Time will tell. We have to give the lads some praise though as they have done a good job. It might not have been pretty at times, but it was enough.Now let's finish on a high and totally ruin Hibs's season with the help of Falkirk to let them end up with nothing.

  3. The bigger question is will Hibs be ready – they are not in great form either – Cummings looks like he wants away and the one sure way to guarantee a move will be if Hibs are in the Championship and lose the Cup Final. Stokes, Henderson and Fyvie have been disappointing and McGeouch is recovering from injury. Logan in goal, has not been tested to the extent Rangers will put him under…I can see this turning into a fairly comprehensive win.

  4. very thought provoking article,I.M.O. Rangers whole team will raise their game for the next match because (A) its at hampden park (B) its against Hibs and (C) its the scottish cup final.RANGERS WILL PREVAIL.

  5. I think, we have to play Marks style of possession football and see how it works if Hibs try and play defensive and hit us on the break, then we need to change the tactics a bit..sometimes use the long high ball..get that ball in the box as often as possible,make sure we get the bodies in the box for those crosses..most importantly, we have to win the one on one battles especially..on defence..during games your team NEVER has 90 minutes of advantage..we have to be aware of that….thats when the midfielders MUST get back behind the ball..and make those timely tackles…the players must understand how the game is going..and change the tactics accordingly…i think thats been our achiles heel too often this season….thats where our Captain on the pitch must get the players to re-act ON the pitch….Anyway,just my view….its been a great season by the team over-all,now lets finish it with the style that got us through the semis….RANGERS my team…ALWAYS will be…Hibs are vulnerable on defence..make sure we pressure them…!!!

  6. The blue half of Glasgow will have the last laugh on any doubters make us the under dogs at your Perl we want this win to help send Stubbs back to Edinburgh to think again he may then head south with his tail between his legs and take up the job at bolton whilst we return to European football after an absence of four years so go on teddy bears do it for your loyal fans forever true blue

  7. The biggest factor is the size of the Hampden pitch,no one in Scottish football will live with Rangers on that pitch.I expect Tavernier, Zelalem, Holt,McKay and Waghorn to run riot in the final.

    Rangers will win it is just by how many,Hibs have lost their last three finals by 3-0 twice and 5-1,they are natural born losers.

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