Is there any case for Rangers’ defence?


In the (justified) praise of yesterday’s outstanding 0-2 win at Fir Park, many supporters, myself included, certainly conveniently overlooked the glaring failing in Rangers’ display; mentioned many times in the comments to articles today, it is only fair to tackle it head on, pun most certainly intended.

In short terms, Rangers’ current defence, in yesterday’s 90 minutes, featuring the familiar Rob Kiernan and Danny Wilson partnership, was a borderline suicide pact.

It has been an Achilles heel for some time, but during the first 45 minutes especially the duo could not have been more out of sync under duress. For the opening period, they were both caught repeatedly high, and Kiernan especially looked like a defender who had lost all confidence and indeed memory of how to play.

Wilson was barely any better, but he did bail his partner out now and then, something he has history for with the former Wigan stopper. But Kiernan himself was just diabolical – a ball came into the box, a set play, and he just allowed it to sail across him without even attempting to attack it.

Kenny Miller, during a Rangers attack following a corner had Wilson and Kiernan still in the middle – he made a bit of a mess of the header from Tavernier’s cross, but the ball was open for either of them to attack – and neither did.

And this sums up what that partnership has become – a very passive arrangement with neither player taking responsibility or leading – and that is due to each player being the kind of defender who requires an alpha leader. There is no coincidence Danny Wilson’s most composed period was as the beta follower alongside the defensive titan that was Sir Davie of Weir.

But alongside another player like himself, and he struggles.

Kiernan, for his part, looks lost. And this partnership is dragging both players down. The sooner a superior leader type comes in, such as Clint Hill, and partners one of them, or indeed a new signing, the better.

Motherwell absolutely slaughtered Rangers’ defence in the first half; and yes, I fully recognised a lot of those attacks were due to Tavernier being posted missing from his defensive duties as well. For better finishing they could have opened up quite a lead.

This article is a direct response to all those comments highlighting how frail Rangers’ defence is, and it is. It absolutely has not developed since last season, and the Kiernan Wilson partnership simply has to end. Football is indeed attack and defence, and Rangers cannot go through the whole season with a partnership at the rear that is as unreliable as the one who took the field yesterday.

It is the missing piece of the Warburton jigsaw, with striker Joseph Dodoo signed up (to hopefully be announced tomorrow) – and we need it filled.


  1. Again as i mentioned in a previous post, they are both young and get absolutely no protection at all so i do feel sorry for them, in saying that there is no doubt that they need to improve but until we get someone properly sitting in front of them while the full backs bomb on they will always be hung out to dry. Hill wont make much difference unless the DM position is sorted

    • Fair enough but got to remember that Saturday was little more than a preseason game – things should be a lot tighter at the back when the season is ready to go properly.

    • Hill and Barton will sort it out – would not read too much into Saturday and what was little more than a glorified friendly.

  2. We easily could've been 3-0 in early stages. A near repeat of cup final defending. Kiernan and Wilson were diabolical. Worrying stuff. Any decent clinical striker yesterday would've had a field day.And again Tav shows he knows where the net is but cant defend. Overall great response second half. Good result but centre halves are suicidal at times

  3. I think nearly every poster in your last 2 blogs is in complete agreement. You can only hope Davie Weir has Warbs' ear. We would be in great shape if we had 100% possession in every game, but of course that is impossible. Even our typical 60-66% still leaves us vulnerable to a few crosses and corners coming into our box.
    We have a glut of talented midfield and attacking players. Not so much for the back four.

  4. Hodson at left back push tav into midfield. Have kiernan play with crooks when fit enough at the back. I said last season danny wilson is a bombscare. Yesterday he was shite again giving the ball away far to much.

  5. Once Barton and the young Liverpool lad Rossiter are in the team I have to believe that our defence will be much better albeit that I would like to see a top quality centre back partnering either Kiernan or Wilson. I have more concerns regarding the goalkeeper who is hopeless with cross balls and does not control his six yard box.

    I also thought that yesterday McKay was anonymous and needs to improve 100% if he is to keep his position. There are too many good players at the club now to carry passengers.

  6. The most important role in our current formation and tactic is our defensive midfielder. When our fullbacks attack and create width our defensive midfielder needs to sit in as a slightly advanced centre back effectively making a back three.

    Kiernan and Wilson could probably play with an solid CB or as you say an alpha CB. Hopefully Hill will offer that.

    I'm glad our comments on previous posts have been recognised as I'm sure we'd all love to watch the games with our blue tinted glasses on but we all need to acknowledge our frailties in order to achieve #No 55

  7. Why is that what is so painfully obvious to the vast majority of the Rangers support is so ignored by W & W? Warburton continues to praise Kiernan (and wants to extend his contract) whereas to me he looks like a car crash which not only has happened, but is happening and will continue to happen. Motherwell could have been 3 up by half-time. I hope Matt Croooks is fit and in place (i.e. central defence) very soon.

  8. Foderingham is a serious weak link. Several cross balls he went for them then stopped. Zero faith in him as he aint commanding at all. Keirnan and wilson are both shite whether they have a solid partner or not. Neither have pace, can read a game or have any composure, a decent cb wont make them faster or smarter. Tav is useless regardless of goals. No point in having a defender that cant defend. Wallace is reliable but nothing special. He is a case of fans being faithful because he has rangers at heart. I love him for that aswell but i am a realist and hes just not that good im afraid. Same story with halliday, he is blue through and through and again like many others i love him for this but he is far too casual on the ball. Mckay is another who, if we are all honest, isnt anything worldly. Hes very predictable. Holt is a kenny miller of midfield, runs himself into the ground but for me is very quiet these days. Waghorn like mckay is predictable and people will click on to the whole cut inside act. Im sure il get slated for these views but like i say im just being real. I think the likes of holt, halliday, one or both of the cb's, tav, foddy, miller and even mckay could genuinely lose there places this year to the new guys and if it makes Rangers stronger and tighter and more prolific then i am all for that. I will feel sorry for the boys that got us back to prem football, but like i say im a realist and i dont want it to be another case of "jobs for the boys" as they say. We are the people and i genuinely believe we WILL bring home 55 this coming season (if the issues i raised are addressed haha)

    • Aye I know what you mean. Davie cooper was all left foot, gazza just beat people all the time and the goalie wouldn't let anyone score!!;)

    • Totaly agree the back 5 are at best average and we will take a good few spankings against the top sides in the leauge!!

  9. Its the same old thing post after post, We all praise everybody going forward but again the defence lets us down.

    If we had been playing a better class of opposition we would have been hammered, lets face it Motherwell were sh*te.

  10. In my opinion a quality DM win't make a difference as both Wilson n Kiernan are just not good enough. Neither of them are natural defenders and it shows – this is deadly in a football team. Every prem team knows our weakness and they will exploit to full effect. It's alarming that this position has not been addressed by the management. For the life of, I can't get my head round why not?

  11. Weir has to sort this defence out, he's had a year or so and still it's plain to see the defence falls short of what it required. It's a major problem will cost Rangers any chance they have of winning the league.

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