Ragged Rangers back to earth with a bump

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Back to the Promised Land, hopes had been so high among Rangers fans that the visit of expected SPL bottom feeders Hamilton Academicals would see a comfortable home win for Rangers’ first match in the Premiership for four years.

Indeed, Rangers, Wilson, Crooks, and Windass aside had a full squad fit and available, while their guests languished with ten first-team absences.

It all had the makings of a pretty smooth return to the top flight and a morale-boosting score.

90 minutes later, after the underwhelming starting XI which only featured three new signings took the pitch, we find ourselves head scratching and reflecting inwards, following a frankly dismal draw versus a hard-working and sturdy Hamilton side who gave Rangers more than a few problems.

Problems, it has to be said, that are fairly worrying to have when it is a home match and you are up against the side expected to go down next season by default.

It was a concerning sight to see a complete lack of faith in the new recruits by Rangers’ manager – only Joey Barton, Clint Hill and Niko Kranjcar took the field, while the rest of the XI was made up the same old for the Ibrox men.

And while Kenny Miller had the ball in the net inside two minutes, it did not count, and when Ali Crawford put the Accies one up with a gorgeous finish on half an hour following calamitous defending again from Rangers, it summed up exactly the step up Rangers failed to handle.

For 30 minutes some of the home side’s play was indeed very pretty, with some slick passing, off-ball movement and right back James Tavernier dribbling like Messi. Martyn Waghorn too had a very good game, arguably Rangers’ best player given his drive, energy, and skill; his apparent pulled hamstring on 80 minutes is a big blow for Warburton.

But when that goal went in, it epitomised everything that has been wrong for Rangers against better sides under the Magic Hat; lots of nice passing but a complete lack of penetration in the final third, and a hopeless defence which just seems incapable, 13 months on since Warburton and Weir took charge, of reading a match and consistently producing anything convincing.

Unfortunately this match added a pretty patchy midfield to the mix – Barton was basically a defender for the lion’s share of the 90, playing so deep particularly in the first half, and sacrificing the creative side of his game entirely. He did produce one or two excellent passes, but in order to protect the defence, his vision was impaired, and as time went on he started losing the ball more and more.

As for Kranjcar; tragic. He was just absolutely awful. Looked lethargic, out of his depth, uncomfortable, and his passing was mediocre. This guy looked like Iniesta against Motherwell, but today he was exposed as someone way off the pace. Hopefully he gets it back but he was a total passenger this afternoon and it is not hard to see, on this evidence (and that of his equally miserable display against Burnley) why his career has stalled.

Barrie McKay also produced a lot of huffing and puffing but next to no end product – he ran well from deep and his first touch impressed, but rarely did anything come of it, while Miller in the middle was mostly anonymous.

Defence? Rob Kiernan has become an utter liability – likeable though the chap is, on the field in Rangers’ rearguard he is becoming embarrassing to watch. Zero positional sense and totally out of his depth. Hill fared barely any better but he cannot cover Kiernan’s failings.

And Mark Warburton; the man turned Rangers round in the Championship. He gave us a Rangers to believe in, and I will be forever thankful for that, but there is an undeniable stubbornness with him, a refusal to change things (systems, starting XIs) that are not working. He goes with the same predictable XI core to start, promising rotation and pathways but never actually truly delivering on it, and has his favourites who he will never deviate from, regardless of form.

He brings on subs – sometimes they have an effect, sometimes they do not, but it is a slightly worrying sign that so many of Rangers’ best players and significant new signings (Rossiter, Forrester, Dodoo, MOH) were on the bench and do not look like they will ever be regular starters.

If Mark Warburton is to steer Rangers to SPL credibility, he needs to adjust to the step up in quality, and the demands the higher level places on himself as much as the players.

We used to think there really was not much of a gap between the SPL and the Championship – well, the worst in the SPL comfortably got a point at Ibrox, suggesting the gap might be bigger than suggested.

A serious amount of introspection and adjustment is required before Rangers travel to Dens Park on the 13th, because in present shape, with present personnel and present tactics, they will struggle to accrue anything there.

25 COMMENTS

  1. We have to get real here. It will take a few seasons to have a team capable of challenging. King is not going to provide the funds necessary. Blogs like this one need to be real as well, Read on this site after the Motherwell game. Spl defences are terrified of us. Stop this nonsense please we are miles away from where we would like to be.

  2. Manager and players have been biggin' up the team, all teams will now be riled at that. We need a couple of seasons to get back to the top league form but we also need a couple of quality players this season. Is Dave gonna put his hand in his pocket for that to happen? Freebies sometimes work but quality costs. If Accies truly had 10 injuries today and they are deemed the worst team in the league we will be lucky to reach top 6 cos 4 or 5 injuries thru the season will cripple us.

  3. Bloody hell give it a rest, none of the new lads are fit. We dominanted the game and they scored on the counter. It happens get over it.

    Some of the articles on here are beyond ridiculous.

    • No, your ridiculous. It's the same pattern, same shite anybody could read. Warburton has taken this club as far as he is capable. No league title this season I'm afraid lads.

    • none of the new lads are fit."

      incredible, fans pay great money to support the club and it brings in "unfit lads". the season has started 3 weeks ago for us, till now they shouldve got fit. stop this nonsense, krancjar was ridiculous today, barton nutmegged with a goal, miller a passenger and too old, waggy got injured, hill out of his depth, kiernan bang average.

      we need funds and king promised us a lot of money and dont delude yourself and dont defend and protect him and his promises. he doesnt stand by his word and warbo may get angry and leave the office because of lack of support from the board.

  4. Kranjcar is finished at this level.

    He's hardly kicked a ball in the last two seasons…..I hope that his contract is no longer than one year because after today's showing he's a liability.

    Accies had half of their first team squad out injured yet they still caused us problems.

    Next week away to Dundee is now a must win match or we could be looking at an early points gap, especially if Waghorn is out for any length of time.

    Celtic have spent £4.5m on Sinclair with further additions to come next week……….we don't have £450,000 to spend on transfer fees and if the SD/Puma mess goes legal then we are totatotal crew financially.

    • The blinkers come off at last. Read the daily record. They will print what you would like to read with everything in the garden rosy. Afraid the reality is somewhat different and reality is now where it is at. Welcome to the premier league.

  5. Look we are becoming too predictable you seen that at the end of last season. Teams know we will pass the ball back and forth. But we don't really have a end product do we. We need a actual striker not someone who can be a winger come striker. We set up a lot of chances in every game but just don't score enough. Hopefully a definite wake up to king that we do need to spend some money.

  6. It's only one game and everyone is doom and gloom ffs !!!!
    If people didn't have such stupid and narrow minded attitudes they might take a minute and be thankful that we are back in the SPL and as for todays performance well I remember years gone by when Rangers lost their first league game of the season and ended up champions so get real guys it's only one game and not the end of the world and also let's just say Celtic lose tomorrow !!
    Does that mean they are finished and we will definitely win the championship ????
    Of course it doesn't so even if they win lose or draw it won't be the end of the world for them either so we need to stop panicking over one game !!!!!

    • Obviously the person with blinkers are you. Could you not see that Hamilton were far better organised than us, could you not see the same mistakes carrying over from last season and oh, of course we don't need plan b. That's just as well because there isn't one and plan a doesn't seem to work or have you got your blinkers on.

  7. Early days for all concerned. I was impressed with Accies organisation, even more so now that you mention they had so many absentees.
    If today was ALL the evidence then rangers will struggle and Accies are no certainties to go down.
    I do expect Celtic to strengthen further and to win the title . Rangers will be inb a battle for second with aberdeen, and at this moment Aberdeen are imo, favourites for that spot

  8. No one seems to realise that there is no money available to buy in real quality….ffs Accies had half their team missing today.

  9. King is the pie piper leading the lemmings to the cliff edge.

    If Puma and SD come after us for breach of contract we are doomed, doomed I tell you

  10. Krancjar is quality, you idiots. Jesus give the guy and the rest of them a chance. You're totally clueless, and the very grumblers I absolutely hate to have stand next to on the terraces. Support the team, or STFU.

    • 100% agree, what happened to we'll support you ever more. Dare I say Rome wasn't built in a day. Way too many people forgetting the Kenny Black years already. Let's just get behind the team and the manager

  11. Watched game on RTV from NZ – could be the sound on RTV is rubbishy or engineered to filter out the crowd but where was the support for Gers? Should have been a wall of blue noise from start to finish with almost 50,000 bears inside Ibrox, the only times the crowd were audible was when they were whinging at mistakes – so easy to slag off the team after one game but the worst performance was from "the 12th man" , lethargic, anonymous, uncreative, a walkover.

  12. All I can say is wat a shambles every starting player looked so unfit n as if they had lead boots on wen sub came on was bit brighter but must play better or we ll to fin top half table

  13. FFS one game in and the players and management who gave us all such hope and belief last year are condemned, the seasons as good as over and and we're all doomed. Get a grip, your making yourself look silly again.
    Remember the Dave King fiasco.

  14. What absolute nonsense. Ok – sack Warburton and Weir. Thank god you are not in charge of hiring and firing at Ibrox.
    Such a short-sighted attitude. Typical of the mindset alot of fans had during the most successful period in our history. Sack Walter Smith – even though he is our most successful manager – of all time. If some people had brains, they'd be dangerous.

  15. Tbh we won't win the league,we will be fighting for 3rd or 4th ,all this tricky tacky football is bull shit ,iko kranjcar is a passenger waste of a jersey I don't know what planet chris Sutton is on saying he's quality ,he's finished ,tbh rangers have a couple of no bad players but they lack quality big time

  16. I'll forgive lack of fitness,match fitness etc. My biggest concern is the manager. Firstly, I'm not calling for his head,far from it. But his stubbornness or inability to change things give a great cause for concern. The "Do plan A better" approach, is a good soundbite, but when you have a team that's mostly incapable of following this action, things get more difficult.
    Teams took 11 games last season to suss us out. After that it was ,for the majority of the season a dominating slog. All the possession and no end product paired with a shaky defence that seems to have got worse, not better. (Wasn't a big fan of Hill at QPR)
    Midfield now has loads of options in the centre and less out wide. Barton is a great signing and I really hope Niko proves his doubters wrong and starts being the playmaking force he can be.
    The Waghorn/Miller winger/striker interchangeable combo has never worked. It infuriates me see a cross go into the box and no strikers are present let alone midfielders. The passing around the 18 yard line with no penetration or shots is easy pickings for most organised defences. Most critics moan about us lacking in the final 3rd, i'd go further and say we offer next to nothing in the final quarter.
    We've had Keirnen taking wild shots from 30 yards,our midfielders looking up for a striker only to find he's out on the wing or back at defensive midfield. It's not good enough! not at this level and certainly not at the level of European competition we aspire to be at.
    This formation requires personnel in key positions for it to be successful. Mostly through the spine of the team, We need a better standard of defender to pair with Wilson. A holding player who can Read the game.Was Barton told to sit as deep in the first half? I think not, but it's glaringly obvious that this was required.(I do think Barton could offer more further forward though) To me, the most important one, A no.10, I'd love it to be Niko but it's debatable whether or not we can rely on him for 90 mins or a full season for that matter. Lastly , a striker, even before Waghorns injury, I wanted a new striker, one of a different type, preferably good in the air.
    That gets me on to my last point about our manager. He needs to start mixing it up. Being predictable is the road to ruin imo,unless your blessed with the best players in the world and even then coaches become wise eventually. No, playing pretty football is great,it really is, but getting the ball over the line is far more important,far more!! I believe, in the current climate, we will never obtain the type of player required to make this "plan A" successful week in week out. Arsene Wenger has been trying for years ffs! Just my opinion, but I back it up by saying I've played the game and watched our team most weeks over a lifetime. I hope I'm wrong regarding the negatives and I'll be happy with qualifying for the Uefa cup this coming season. It's good to be back, just the same.

  17. I was really disappointed with gers support (or lack of it). The team get a real lift when they hear us singing but we were waiting on something happening.

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