Back to the football – what went wrong for Rangers?

Back to the football – what went wrong for Rangers?

After the chaos of yesterday’s post-match riot, back to the football; but let us get something out of the way first; this entry is going to be a little more emotive than usual, so if emotion is not what you want then read no further.

We shall start with the truth; Hibs were worthy winners yesterday. Just like they were after the Old Firm semi, just like Livi were at Almondvale.

Since Rangers won against Celtic the players have downed tools and been unable or unwilling to pick them up again. Form since that Hampden clash has read three losses and two draws.

Reality: that’s Kenny McDowall’s Rangers at its worst. Far from calling Mark Warburton a bad manager, he has been a breath of fresh air, but the stats do not lie and Rangers have been pitiful since they won the league.

Alan Stubbs’ side was better organised (obvious inside about two minutes of the final), hungrier, slicker, neater, and more energetic.

Rangers looked like they had had enough of this season within two minutes of the trip to Easter Road post-Celtic win, and all those fans claiming “they’ll be up for it come the final” – well, only Kenny Miller, Danny Wilson and one or two others truly were. This was 93/94 all over again.

James Tavernier set the tone for this match inside the first 90 seconds – his first touch was a back heel which nearly gave the ball away, and his second was an awful slip. Thereafter he was just hopeless – but it has become apparent over this season the lad is no RB – he just cannot defend and Rangers will be destroyed next season in the SPL if he remains Lee Wallace’s opposite number.

Andy Halliday also might have scored a peach in this match but he gets away with far too many anonymous performances because ‘he’s one of our own’. He will surely be only a squad player next season.

And that defence Tavernier aside? There just does not seem to be any understanding between Kiernan and Wilson and the latter is constantly having to sweep up after the former Wigan stopper’s errors. If not for Wilson Rangers would have been three or four down at half time.

Midfield is still playing far too much bitty tiki tika, and while it retains the ball, it does not go anywhere – against higher calibre opposition who are truly up for it, it is a totally failed tactic. Holt was again industrious and energetic, and Zelalem also had a decent game but the tactical approach makes both of them go sideways too often.

And Warburton himself must take some responsibility – the man has worked wonders, but he is not beyond reproach and only the most blindly faithful would relieve him of any responsibility for some of the things which go wrong. He has done so much good for Rangers, with all the praise that deservedly receives, but that was at Championship level. For the SPL he must make some adaptations. For one thing, he has to consider abandoning his ‘standard 60-minute sub’ tactic, which often weakens the team, and only sub as and when needed and only to improve the team. Shiels weakened the team when the neat and tidy sacrificial lamb Zelalem made way for him.

It would also be nice if one or two defenders were linked, because this backline is just not up to scratch, although that is more Frank McParland’s remit.

This squad needs a holiday, and it needs some surgery. It has done brilliantly to secure promotion so early, and a cup final, a win over Celtic and Dundee not to mention the Petrofac Cup, but there is plenty work still to be done.

What did you make of it all, on the football pitch anyway? Comment in the usual place.

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  1. If Warburton adopted a 4-4-2 for next season then Tavernier would be an asset as winger. We definitely need 2 solid old school center backs. I totally agree that we need to have interest mentioned for those roles and a right back.

  2. Spot on rangers lacked a bit of experience got back in the game and took the lead couldn't hold on!
    And has been seen all season we can't defend corners this is were I don't have faith in our keeper good shot stopper but awful with crosses so big changes still needed hopefully dave king will address this but hey remember were we have come from in last year or two we have a team worth watching again

  3. Disagree with ur report compleatly… Holt was missing for about 60 mins until haliday came beside him and zelalam should never wear the shirt again… Wilson had one good tackle in the whole match to keep commons at bay but he's not a person to build a defense on. Truthfully we need a new right back, and centre back and if we get joey Barton then our midfield will be sorted. But we need a bigger threat up front. My ratings for the match would be
    Foderingham 6 (couple of good saves but doesn't command his box)
    Tavernier 4(kept losing possession especially in his own half and at fault for the 2nd goal)
    Kiernan 3(fault for the 1st goal, should have closed his man down instead of backing off)
    Wilson 5 (still can't jump and is always a yard behind)
    Wallace 5(too busy defending to move forward which killed the left side of the pitch)
    Haliday 5(out of position, and livened up when moved futher forward beside holt)
    Holt 4(invisible man for most of the match)
    Zelalam 3(to soft and goes back wards to often)
    Mckay 4(very quiet and bearly beat his man)
    Waghorn 4(lost the ball most of the time)
    Miller 8(was the only person trying to win)

    • What a load of bollocks, and try spelling correctly….bearly should be barely, compleatly should be completely.

    • A load of bollox?? – I'd say he is pretty much spot on. And don't make a fanny baws of yourself by trying to br the grammar police eh…

    • I thought Zelalem did very well for a young kid in the middle of an onslaught. He is a great holding midfielder, make no mistake. He was there on his very own yesterday.It hurt Rangers when he was substituted. Also felt for Clark. He has been pushed from pillar to post, played out of position, rarely been up to speed by playing 30, 60 minutes a month.And then losing the ball at the third goal
      while facing his own goal in a left half or fullback position yesterday.Whatever is asked of him he has given his all.Given a run as a striker in an Aberdeen or Hearts team I thing he would do a very good job.
      You did not rate the manager. I think I would give him 10 for winning the League with the little money used.
      For the cup final I would give a Zero. The team were off the pace from the first kick of the ball. He gave his team the relaxing period of a few days that cost Hibs their championship when they did the same.Tactically Hibs were all over Tavernier and Kiernan and they were allowed to continue to punish these two players and ultimately win the cup.
      Yesterday's game showed that Rangers overachieved in the League through having Dominic Ball, few injuries and suspensions. They were also fortunate that teams stacked their defence for as long as they did before realising that the best way to beat Rangers was to go all out attack.

  4. Tired legs,flat supporters we missed Ball in the defensive midfield role. Clark losing (giving the ball away!) the ball at the half way line to start the chain of events culminatng in the winner summed up the paucity of the squad at the Magic Hats disposal for this final game.
    But let's not be too downhearted were back and with a few new signings in the next few weeks we are going for 55. Chin up chest out we are Rangers!!

  5. Kiernan was atrocious the whole game,why did he run parallel to Stokes instead of towards him at 1st goal?
    Tavernier marking Stokes at corners? Bringing Clark on at 2-1 when it should have been Law to tighten up midfield!

  6. our defence has been vulnerable all season and I must admit my heart is in my mouth every time a corner is given against us, however, as an attacking force we are impotent. We scored two good goals yesterday and struck the bar but not once did the Hibs 'keeper have to make a save. We need a striker as well as some back up in defence yet all the players we have signed or are looking at are all midfield players. How many do we need?

  7. The Shiels for Zelalem substitution was a mistake. Gedion was the one player in midfield who could hold the ball. Sure he couldn't find anyone with an incisive through ball, but apart from Kenny Miller there was little movement into positions where he could find them.
    At least Zelalem made sure that Rangers had the bulk of possession. That changed when Shiels came on. He was woeful.
    A lot went wrong, but that was a BIG mistake.

  8. Yes we were poor yesterday ,but lets forget how much we have came in one season, i am sure our management team are well aware of our short comings all through the team, not good to lose any time but maybe its the wake up call and shows we still have a way to go.

  9. Yes we were poor and we have been conceding goals just like yesterdays all season, sure to lose any time is not good especially a cup final, but we have came along way since last season and before. I am sure our management team are well aware of the teams short comings through out the squad and will be addressed before next season, onwards and upwards.

  10. Have to agree with the ed of ibrox noise I also thought danny wilson carried rob kiernan yesterday,wilson imo had a good game and I myself have been critical of him at times this season,when we were coming away from hampden yesterday we were having a confab about the evergreen(pardon the pun) kenny miller,he was in all our opinions by far the best rangers player on the park,the guy is a thoroughbred and fit as a butcher's dog!He always scores in the big games and his header yesterday was a superb goal!He's terrific to still have about ibrox and any young upcoming aspiring striker should watch and learn off kenny miller as his movement on & off the ball is quite exceptional!!

  11. We have Defenders – who cant head a ball, FFS that should be a remit for a defender, thats why we cant cross a corner kick into the box, or when we conceide a corner its "hands over the eyes time"

  12. Lets be clear Mark Warburton is still an experimental choice as manager and my fear is he is not learning from his team's mistakes. His tactics are easily thwarted by the opposition and he seems incapable of any flexibility in approach. All we are hearing about signing wise is more midfielders and more wingers when we have a desperate need for strikers who can intimidate defences along with a right back and two commanding centre backs. What is the point of playing two wingers who don't cross the ball? What is the point of short corners? I think at times we need gps to find out where the opposition goals are. Yesterday despite having the ball far more than Hibs we created next to nothing which has been the same pattern in the last few games. He is not exempt for ticisim

  13. We were totally and utterly crap no defence and midfield lost ball to easy defence must be a priority next season

  14. We need defenders in the shape of a good old fashioned ball winning centre half and a right back that can defend. A defensive midfield player and a striker. Hibs could have driven a bus through the centre of our midfield yesterday. All this sideways tika taka with no penetration we ain't Barcelona! it pains me to say Hibs deserved it yesterday.

    I agree Kenny Miller was far and away our best player yesterday, Waghorn still isn't fit a McKAY didn't kick a ball all game. And we need more players one look at the programme where Hibs had about 22 players in their squad and we had 17…COME ON Mr KING time to put your money…if there is any where your mouth was.

  15. Tactically Stubbs got it spot on. The myth of Warburton's team was exposed. They are too lightweight for the SPL. Both Falkirk and Hibs outfought them in their latest encounters.It is a wonder they achieved promotion with such a skeleton crew. With more injuries, suspensions and no Dominic Ball Rangers may have finished in fourth place in the championship. There was a stark difference in Rangers results and performances when opposing teams took the game to them instead of defending in depth against them. Yesterday was the perfect example of it.Cross balls into our box is a nightmare to watch. Certain players are glaringly out of position in their present rolls. But with such a limited budget we came a very long way and did extremely well to gain promotion.
    I absolutely think that a question mark hangs heavily above the tactics used and the finances available for next season. If Messrs Tavernier and Keirnan line up in their present positions for the first game next season we will be in a dogfight to avoid relegation.

  16. The editor of the article and I amongst others were obviously watching the game yesterday , others must be watching it through beer glasses.
    We were overrun yesterday by a very mobile
    Hibs side, their movement and slick passing left some of our players in disarray. Notably Tavernier was beaten every time by Stokes, later our manager removed Zelalem, who may have not created much, but was able to retain the ball and I and all people in my group of fellow fans agreed he was at least one of the top 3 players in our side, Miller and Wilson being the other two.
    Was our manager correct in starting Waghorn, might it not have been better to have him ready for a 30 minute burst if required from the bench?
    I think we looked a spent force from the start, but when we did simple things we managed to get two goals and it looked like we might be able to steal the game. The two simple things were, cross a ball into the 18 yard box, Miler took his goal brilliantly. Second goal, shoot….when you see the goals and we were in front.
    We were never in the game after that, we were pressurised for the rest of the match; was this due to fatigue? These are things we will never know, but if we are to progress next season we really need to recruit players who are comfortable to play in the system Warburton wants. Our keeper, Tavernier, Kiernon, Halliday, Holt and possibly even MacKay, Waghorn and obviously Kenny Miller won't last 90 mins or play every game next season. Four of the five substitutes will also leave. Maybe had we had Ball and Forrester available yesterday and 7 subs Warburton might have had better choice of impact substitutions to make, Hardy might have made a difference had he not be loaned out and would possibly been recalled when Waghorn was injured.
    I agree we need a decent right back, centre half, holding midfielder and a top striker for next season. Crooks, Windass, Rossiter and maybe Barton plus 4 more signed players will be enough for a decent side for next season.
    We, as Rangers fans must not look to be overly successful next season; what Warburton is doing is a work in progress, so far, so good and we should congratulate him on his achievement, so far.

  17. Totally agree with every word of the article. But it hasn't just been a decline since the Celtic game, we were poor well before that and in truth struggled to confirm the league title. We haven't been good since we have been 'found out'. Teams took a wee while and a few big beatings to work out how to counter-act our game as you would expect them to but we did not (or could not) respond to their change of game. It was great to watch at the time, but then writing was on the wall as our wins got tighter, our game was being sussed, teams started scoring against us as they pressed high and got at our weak defence. Our football was looking toothless and predictable and other than a spell where our form picked up again, and the arrival of Forrester, we have struggled against teams from top to bottom of the Championship. So many areas to improve but I saw Tavernier's poor defensive capabilities way back in September when we beat Dumbarton 2-1. This possession obsession is not the answer as the Hibs match – and many others – have proved.

  18. Overall we were totally rubbish yesterday. It was as if there was no desire or fight from the team (apart from Miller).
    As much as I like the style of football we try to play, there needs to be a back up plan other than try Plan A better (as Warburton has said)
    Looking forward to next season we need a new goalkeeper, a commanding centre half, a proper defensive midfielder, and another striker.
    All of the above need to be better than what we have currently, as some as not even cut for the Championship.

    Now that Europe has gone, and Celtic appear to be flexing their financial advantage, we need Mr King and his fellow directors to match Warburton in his ambition.
    If this does not take place, then we will struggle next season, as a team who finished 3rd have shown others how to play against us.
    Out of the players we have would keep Wilson, Wallace, MaKay, Waghorn and Miller.
    The others should only be squad players, as they have not shown they are better than Championship standard.

    The defence must be a priority next season, we need defenders who can defend first and foremost(and who are not afraid to stick their head in where it hurts)

  19. I live in England but been a ranger's 49 yrs…agree with the original post to this The defence isn't working and hasn't for along time kiernan was awful always being careless.kenny miller absolutely everywhere…But look what a season and after beating Celtic that was better than winning the cup….

  20. Some people don't seem to get it. Warbs defence has been abysmal since day dot! the possession game and attacking has covered it up somewhat but the fact is, the minute a team gets a foothold in the game they score..whether it be Hibs, Celtic, Alloa or anyone else! Tav is not a rightback in a million years! Keirnan and Wilson are little boys lost. I have no confidence in a team who can lose 3 goals in games by not attempting to tackle the striker or not jumping for headers. What worries me is that the team is now startign to look unbalanced with the amount of attackers and wingers he wants but no defenders! I like Warbs, he has done well with what he had but to me he always seems like a really good coach who knows a bit rather than a fully fledged manager who knows how to switch things up or build a solid defence. Lets hope he sorts it this summer and brings in a proper defence or we are in soapy bubble. His " we had all the possession patter " doesn't cut it anymore. Bit harsh but I'm a Rangers fan and if the manager can only build half a team then he is not for me.

  21. The team has been missing a quality defensive midfield player all season and good a player as he is Wallace just isn't the commanding presence that is needed as captain of Rangers FC. (Just compare him to others like Amorusso, Greig, Butcher and Gough as examples). Holiday is not and never will be a holding midfield player and it is an insult that we can't fill our bench and if truth be known, none of Law, Shiels or Clark should be at the club. Our two centre backs are poor. Take your choice, maybe one of them but not both in the same team and a quality centre back should be deployed alongside whichever of them is given the nod. McKay didn't kick a ball all afternoon and Holt was industrious but added little in terms of guile and Waghorn was clearly not match fit! The team was not up for the game and tactically we were poor. That has to go down as criticism of Warburton since we should have been up for this game. In any event King needs to put his money where his mouth is and support the manager with the funds necessary to bring in a top quality centre back, get Joey Barton and a couple more seasoned pros that have the guile, the leadership qualities and the winning mentality to get us back where we belong. If we have the centre of defence sorted out and a couple of hard tackling quality midfield players in the team then we can afford to have Wallace and Tavernier playing their role of wing back but whether we need two wing backs and two wide attacking players is debatable.

  22. Madjid Bougherra would make a great defender he gave all for Rangers when he was last there .He,s only 33 with a lot of experience David Weir was there to 41 or 42 so why don,t they resign him .

  23. Did anyone see Tav's assist? What do you want? He is an attacking rb ffs 25 goals and tons of assists? Look at the whole season not 1

    • Tav has assisted more opposition goals than he has scored or assisted for Rangers. FFS Stokes should have scored 25 yesterday in one game. He has attributes, yes but never in a million years will he make an accomplished fullback. Couldn't tackle a Monday night fish supper.He is targeted as Rangers main weakness, a ghost at cross balls, disorientated at corner kicks. Asking a RB to score is like asking an out and out striker to play double centre half. Fuckin'stupid. It is not his fault he is played out of position and it fooled many managers at the start of the season, but look at the past ten matches. That game's a bogey as is PLAN A for all seasons.

  24. Warbs has done well but his lack of experience is really starting to show. 60 minute sub is so predictable and pointless half the time and has cost us! The way the team is full of attackers yet only 2 really poor centre halves! and he is still going for attackers rather than strenghten that defence! The way he talks about possession as if that's all that matters(even when we have lost). They way the team is set out often leaving our two poor centre halves trying to cover for the fullbacks and make tackles on the touchline instead of dominating and controlling the box. As I say, done good and hopefully he learns a lot for next year but a team with a backline that can't defend corners or set pieces, can't win 50/50s, can't outjump strikers, keep getting caught flat footed will simply not cut it. Good teams are build from the back NOT the front! WATP

  25. Remember how far come this season. Sure there are areas of the team mainly centre half & a striker needed but im sure the gaffer knows this only too well.

  26. poor show by rangers yesterday but still a very good year for us, we still need a few players and we will get them, we are rangers and WE ARE BACK AND WATP,,

  27. We all wanted to win yesterday but we must keep this result and season in perspective. The aim was promotion the top division – achieved with ease. Winning the cup would have been a thick layer of icing on the cake but the additional pressures of European football next season may have been a step too far too soon. Truth is, yesterday was a game too far for a small squad with Ball, Forrester, King & O'Halloran all missing. With three players already added for next season and Barton hopefully on the way the squad is taking shape. Warburton knows he needs to strengthen, Weir will offer solid advice on the defensive frailties. Lets enjoy the success of the season just gone and get behind the team for next season.

    • A lot of truth in what you say.I'm really gutted with the result because it has cost the club millions and Europe would have been a huge incentive for players to come to Rangers. However when you consider the pennies spent and that we are in the SPL we have done very well to get there. If only……….suppose that's football.

    • Spent pennies yes, for us, but how much have Hibs, Falkirk, Raith, Morton, QoS not to mention Alloa spent? they and others in that division made it hard for us in many games this year. The squad size is a factor but so too is our repetitive play style.

  28. Madjia Bougerra would make a great defender when he was with Rangers before he was brillant.He is only 33 he has a lot of experience.David weir was 42 when he finished and we all know how good he was

  29. Totally agree
    One swallow does not make a summer.
    We will get stronger and go for 55 next season.
    Chin up chest out enjoy next season!!

  30. We welcome the chase!!!!
    Bring it on !!
    We are and always will be THE PEOPLE!!
    In Warburton and Weir we trust!!!

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