Hibs v Rangers – what Rangers need to fix

 Richard Fillingham

The Hibernian ‘fans’ Hampden pitch invasion is totally inexcusable in this day and age! This type of behaviour in the year 2016 is simply not acceptable, but I would prefer to concentrate on the football and focus on the Scottish Cup final.

In the first 27 minutes of the game, right up until our equalising goal from an unstoppable Kenny Miller header, I thought that Rangers had performed very averagely. It took a brilliant Tavernier cross right on to Kenny’s head to get us back into a game that looked like heading away from us.

The problem with our all-out attacking system put together from our wonderful manager Mark Warburton, is, that if we give the ball away too cheaply, with a bad pass by any of our midfield players, it puts our defence in immediate trouble and our two centre backs simply are not strong, sharp or good enough to cope with the fast breakaways, and it happens far too often to be a coincidence.

Tavernier was posted missing when Stokes, in only the 3rd minute, picked up the ball where he should have been. If he hadn’t been too far up the park when the attacking move broke down, he might have been in a position to defend the goal. Stokes ran past Tierney and passed it into the net with an easy saveable shot in the corner of the goal. From the acute angle he scored from, a better keeper than Foderingham would at least have got his fingertips to the shot and prevented the ball from going in.

Since beating Celtic, we have not won any of our competitive games and that must be unacceptable to our management team, who I certainly trust to rectify the problems with this present squad of players; in fairness to everybody, that squad did achieve the main objective of promotion to the Premiership.

Unless we replace Foderingham, Tavernier and the far too casual Wilson, with taller and much better players, I predict now that we won’t stand a chance of winning the Premiership next year. Technically we also don’t have to worry about playing good quality teams in the Europa League as by losing the final, we didn’t qualify anyway.

Rangers were slow, lethargic and definitely off the pace of the game, until we scored. I was describing our Hampden performance by using words like awful defending, we were losing every 50/50 ball; we looked as rusty as an old nail, due to the 3 week lay-off, which as it turns out, did us no favours at all.

We cannot use that as an excuse because we had the game won at 2–1, when Andy Halliday hit that screamer of a shot into the corner of the Hibs’ net to put us into pole position to go on and win the game (or so we thought). We didn’t hold onto the ball nearly well enough in the last 22 minutes and it was our own slack passing that allowed a very average Hibs side to get back into the game, when we lost several corners, and that is ALWAYS our major weakness in the team.

How many times do I have to point out that Foderingham NEVER comes out for any corners or free kicks and our team is NOT GOOD ENOUGH to stop goals in the air.

Victory for this Hibernian side ended a wait of 114 years and 26 days, 41,665 days, almost one million hours and 3.5 billion seconds for Scottish football’s most prized cup trophy, and I hope it is even longer before the next time they win it.

Without the two late corners, Hibernian would not have won the game against a sluggish Light Blues’ side who looked leg weary after that three-week absence from competitive football. Do Rangers have to score 3 goals in every game just to win or draw a match, because of pathetic defending and lack of height in the team? How long will it take before tall, new defending and striking talent will be signed, instead of having too many midfielders?

These and others are areas Warburton and Weir will surely be looking seriously hard at remedying.


  1. Zelalem was a key player for Rangers but it seemed few including the manager realised this until he was pulled, He was confronting an onslaught on his own and his substitution turned into the whole Rangers team being overran.
    Another question was why the tormenting of Tavernier and Kiernan by Stokes et al was allowed to persist with no change in tactics by the manager.
    That exploitation should have been nipped in the bud and wasn't, it lost us the cup and millions of pounds.
    I've posted previously that for weeks I closed my eyes at corners into the Rangers goalmouth. Latterly all high crosses are met with the my same reflex. At 2-1 I had my eyes close at every punt into our half by a Hibs player.
    FFS head the fuckin' ball clear or stick an elbow into the opponent's fuckin' neck.
    Where's big Tam Forsyth when we need him.
    Enough of the tippy tappy shite in defence. Let them get into the Scrippy Scrappy and clear our lines.

  2. I disagree with some points in this article. The name Kiernan does not appear once. As highlighted, Tav was MIA for rhe first goal but Kiernan was on him and just kept backing off and made absolutely no attempt to Stokes. Wilson takes far too much flack, he made a few blocks that saves our hides and while his distribution is often poor, he cannot be blamed when all too often he is the last line of "defence" when the managers tactics of high pressing full backs leave him exposed along with Kiernan's failing and sloppiness. Foderingham aswell can only do so much with that four in front of him and the tactics employed that time and again leave him and the "defence" exposed. He is not superman and i would suggest even Goram would struggle with that four in front of him. There is far too much blame levelled at the players and not at the manager and the tactics he employs. All season i have said we will get destroyed due to these gung ho tactics as the right kind of players with the right kind of qualities to play that system has have not been recruited. Essentially we are a second rated team trying to play like Barcelona…it is just not going to work and after teams got used to our style of play it has been easily combatted by opposing teams with absolutely no Plan B. Warburton it seems is completely beyond criticism by the blind faithful and recent petformances have starkly shown the greatest weakness in the team is tactics that are over zealous, set in stone, completely inflexible, with absolutely no willingness to adapt or change as required, and a system that does notsuit the players that have been recruited. To make matters worse McGregor, a beast of a defender was released with no attempt to replace him, along with our only other "defender" Aird punted out to Canada (who is now earning rave reviews i may add for his defensive displays and interceptions). Thus far we have onky been linked to and chasing midfielders and wingers with a complete disregard for the real issue at the moment…defenders. The other inaccuracy in this article is that we have or will have too many midfielders…with lose out of contract and those whos loans are over it leaves us with Halliday, Holt, Crooks, Windass, Rossiter…and if he signs Barton. Which makes 6 midfielders. The last time i checked, two players per position is the optimum number and hardly "too many" as you suggest. We are also almoat up to the same number with forwards…Waghorn, Miller, O'Halloran, Forrester, McKay, with one more addition making 6 (2 per position). It is only in defence this rule is willfully ignored as we have 1 player per position with no backup. While i normally agree with most articles on here i feel that personal bias of players have led to an unbalanced view and complete vindication of our manager from any blame which is in itself ubsurd in the extreme. Granted he has turned our club around, given indications of our youth system finally be orgsnised as it should have been from the beginning but at the end of the day with second highest wage hill in the game and resources at our disposal…does anyone really think that winning the league and the petrofac was an astonishing achievment? I dont think so. Even the abismal team last year made it to the promotioin playoffs. The real work starts next season and as far as i am concerned the "magic hat" will be judged on next season alone…this season means nothing…it was a given

    • Hi Tom, thank you for your comments about our team, it is all about opinions, and I appreciated yours. I think that Tierney, Foderingham and Wilson have all done well considering that they are all free transfer players.They won the Championship, but had we been in the Premiership, I shudder to think where we would have finished in the league. In my opinion, they are all too small at 6' 1". In the case of Tavernier, because he is such an important player to Rangers going forward and with him scoring so many goals, he should be moved to wide right midfield, as he is a pretty poor defender. I want us to play with 2 new signing centre-backs who are tall, can defend and both MUST be excellent in the air + either Tierney or Wilson to join them and be the 3rd to be played at the back. With Tav & captain Wallace as wing backs in a new, 3 – 3 -1 – 3 line up.

    • May i ask who Tierney is? The last i checked we do not own a player by that name? He is an 18yo lrft back who plays for celtic. With due respect i do not give any credence to an opinion from an individual who does not know his own clubs players

  3. Stokes roasted our defense and we left him one on one, on another day Tav could have scored and been given an accolade as a great player. You win some and lose a lot.
    What will the SFA do to Hibs for the pitch invasion and the assault on our players and staff, very little I suspect as they are not hated by the lot who warm the leather seats at the SFA.

  4. we will have to bring in better players right back Kiernan Wilson goalkeeper pure rubbish ,we need at least six more players not including the ones that are coming .Rangers looked ateam with no heart except Kenny miller Wallace

  5. Good summary. I'm not convinced by the goal keeper and to say Wilson casual is an understatement …he's slack and at times looks like a 15 year old playing for the school team. We need more senior players as Kenny Miller again proves to be our best player.

    I also worry that the manager doesn't look like he's prepared to change things. Stubbs has the beating of us tactically again yesterday. If Barry McKay is so brilliant why don't we get him on the ball running at people. Slightly worried about next season unless we sign some mature (28 years + ) players.

  6. I would like to condemn rangers for their ill timed and ill advised second statement today. The first statement was adequate. Stewart Regan and the Police have said and investigation is under way yet whoever drafted this statement seemed to not be aware of that. To also name specific individuals and attack the first minister was beyond stupid. No further commentary was required, the gideo and pictures are there for all to see. It would have been advisable for the club to remain silent and allow investigations to be conducted. With this second statement the club has shot itself in the foot in spectacular fashion and brought the club to an all time low especially absolving any rangers fans on the field of any wrong doing when in reality they should be hammered aswell. The statement smacks of desperation and immaturity and whoever drafted it and whoever sanctioned its release shpuld be removed from the club with immediate effect. You have shamed and embarassed your entire support

    • Its such a crazy statement I'm still waiting for the club to say it was not signed off at board level…I know we want them to defend the club more than we have been in recent years but they blamed everyone but the Hampden tea lady.

    • Wise words Tom, I thought exactly the same. Club statements should be a mark of a club's class. The 2nd statement (I would argue that the 1st was not much better) looked like it had been written by an angry teenager. I've been saying it for a couple of years now – the PR/media team at the club are amateurs and not up to the job.

  7. I like every other rangers fan is gutted we lost but it's one game. At least we got to a final just think of last year how bad we were . I still trust the manager no problem we just have to sort out the defence imo Wilson is a good defender Wallace to . How can you really complain about tav after the season he's had. Would we rather have a broadfoot at rb come on let's be honest. Kiernan really messed up with the first goal and we definitely need another first choice to play with Wilson because they just don't complement each other at all. I'm hoping if we get Barton in he'll be a big help with the defending side of us a calmer head in the middle of the park . Next year we'll have a better sqad than this season so things are on the up I for one would rather be playing top flight football next year than another season in the championship I tell you w.a.t.p

  8. I just never thought we were in control of that game at any point yesterday even when we went 2-1 up. The game was summed up for me when the utterly useless Dean Shiels had the ball close to the centre circle and David Gray came bombing from behind and took the ball off him with absolutely no shout or anything to warn him. I can accept getting beaten by a better team but thats something Hibs are not and never will be. However, lets be honest they wanted it a lot more than we did and that is shameful given it was a chance at an early return to Europe for us. The defence isn't even close to being good enough. Only Wallace is anything like the level of player we need at the back. Tavernier is ok going forward but has faded badly and the 2 central defenders can go any time they like. Don't even get me started with the keeper who is as poor a keeper that we have had in 30 years. Maybe Warburton should give Walter a call and get him to suggest some defenders and a keeper. We should go for McGregor again.

  9. Yes, fair point, Stuart Reagan did condemn the Hibs fans immediately as they touched the hampden pitch. As for the game, Kiernan should be shot for letting stokes in. Tav should be shot for letting Stokes bully him in getting the header for the second goal,,Foderingham is a joke,get rid,,,, and the whole team should be shot for letting the third get in. That said, if you rewind hibs second and third goal,,, you will see that fanny Clark(get him to fuck) giving the ball away, that led to both goals,,Since and before Celtic game, we have been leaking goals left, right and centre,,, Wilson and Kiernan are woeful… we cant header a ball out of our box,, we need two big solid TALL centre halves who can tackle,, its a disgrace losing goals in the last minutes of the game as much as we have, major surgery Mr Warbuton at the back,,and well you and Mr Weir know it,,, do it not,,forget the league next season,, our defence is there for the taking,,, Kenny Miller,, your the man son,, only Rangers player that played yesterday,,

  10. Despite scoring two great goals and almost a third we were mugged by our opponents. They wanted it more an they went for our weakness i e Tav and Kiernan and Wilson. The keeper who isn't good enough was left exposed. This gave Stokes wide open space to play probably his best game this season. Kenny Miller was our best player whereas Tav was our worst. Why on earth was Gedion taken off when he was having his best game in a blue shirt? Shiels was a poor replacement. Our captain was trying to support our week defenders and so made little headway in attack. This meant Barry McKay had little impact. Apart from his great goal Andy Halliday was poor. Once again I have to question the lack of a Plan B and considering we have Davie Weir coaching why are so rank at defending crosses and especially set pieces? To not have won a game since the SC semi should be causing alarm bells to ring and to lose so many goals in the process is shocking. The general football has improved beyond recognition. It is a blessing that we didn't qualify for Europa as we would get slaughtered notwithstanding new players arriving. The pressure is now mounting for our management team to get it right this close season.

  11. I am afraid Warburton doesn't see what we the fans can identify in terms of poor tactical nous along with players who wont hack it in the premiership.The lack of motivation shown by the players over the last couple of months is down to the management team. The signing targets talked about are all for the wrong positions.

  12. Deep breaths chaps.
    Kiernan was dreadful and is not up to the job – his defending of the first goal was dreadful. Wilson will be ok if he is playing alongside a better (and faster) centre half. Nicky C lost the ball and didn't chase the throw in, which led to the corner and the winning goal – his final act before leaving. Shields did nothing after coming on that i can remember – he also now will go. Nicky L – also time to go. If they can teach Foderingham to come out for the ball then he can stay, he is a good shot stopper. If not, he needs to go.
    So Kiernan, Clark, Shields and Law out. Foderingham maybe.
    Centre half needed, plus a holding mid-fielder (Crooks?) and back up for L and R full backs.
    An experienced shouty midfielder (like Barton) would also provide the nouse to see out a game at 2-1, with 20 minutes to go, against tiring opposition.

    • No mention of Tavernier's torrid time? Yes Nicky C was at fault as you say but the guy only gets to come out of the dark room when the sun blinds him and then out of position and then only for a few minutes before the whistle blows full time. Putting Miller on as a double centre half in the same predicament Nicky C finds himself on a monthly basis would produce similar results, not nice. And by the way the guy has ran his guts out for Rangers. Now Mr Tavernier on the other hand …..

    • I like Nicky C and I really wish it had happened for him. I thought the back four were all suspect, including Tav, but Kiernan was particularly poor. The thing is, Warburton doesn't do a stand-alone back four – they are part of a integrated unit. Dom Ball wasn't there to do what he did alongside Halliday in the Celtic game (until Kiernan had to be subbed). So if one part of the team is misfiring i.e. defensive midfield, then the whole is less than the sum of the parts.

  13. Need to stay calm guys. As disappointed as any Gers fan and Saturday was definitely a low. However, it's been a good season and we are miles ahead of where we were 12 months ago. Let's keep the faith in MW to bring a similar improvement by this time next year. On the other hand, the second statement……not clever and seems to me to have diverted criticism towards us when we quite rightly had the higher ground. Can't believe that was sanctioned by the 3 guys at the top who have done so well since coming in.

  14. Agree with Ibrox Noise regarding the team's deficiencies. Hearing that we're near to signing David Bentley, Southend's highly rated 22 year old goalkeeper (ex-Arsenal). 6ft 4 in, and does the things that Foderingham struggles with.

  15. Probably the most sensible and constructive article since Saturday – not that that is saying a lot.

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