What did Rangers’ first win in the SPL for four years mean?

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There is no denying there was a little pressure yesterday when Mark Warburton took his men to Dens Park, given the disappointing opening performance and result against Martin Canning’s Hamilton Academical.

While Rangers’ last encounter with Paul Hartley’s side saw the home outfit run riot, that was a cup match, and this was away in Rangers’ first trek to ‘foreign’ SPL soil in four years.

So there was definitely a little bit of added incentive yesterday for Rangers to prove their sceptics, myself and other Bears included, entirely wrong about their chances this season, and deliver something which would give the players and fans some tangible hope.

Now, while the display and result were by no means perfect (in fact it was far off both) it was certainly progress, and crucially showed Warbs’ XI may have the steel to grind out a hard-fought win when it is required.

It all started out scrappily enough, with neither side really getting anything going for a good 10+ minutes, before Rangers’ smooth passing play and wholesale domination began to take hold. Indeed, even Harry Forrester’s clinical opening goal was as a result of a slightly patchy period of play, which finally settled Rangers down and allowed the Rangers we are more familiar with to manifest itself.

It continued in this vein before Kenny Miller added a thumping second.

It was not Rangers at their vintage best under the Magic Hat, but they were far and away the better side, even if, as usual, the defence was like a sieve and there was zero understanding between this match’s central partnership selection of Danny Wilson and Rob Kiernan.

Indeed, they had been quite exposed on a number of occasions, and thankfully messyrs Forrester and Miller’s goals made this feel more comfortable than it probably was.

But when Joey Barton’s ball-watching let O’Hara sail through defence to get one back right on half time, it set the second half up rather well. Well, certainly for the neutral.

The second half was a right royal battle, a real war of attrition – and it showed Rangers have the battling qualities they will need in abundance in this division.

In the end Warbs’ men held on for a critical win at a notoriously testing venue, and can be pleased to have rolled up their sleeves to fight for the three points.

It did not really teach us too much on the football front that we do not already know. We are aware Warbs probably never will instil defensive solidity in his team – unable to secure a decent new CB, and his usual emphasis on midfield to attack means it is unlikely any time soon that Rangers fans will have any confidence in the back line.

We also know we can pass near enough any Scottish side off the park, and on pure football terms Rangers are clearly the best team in Scotland; but we are currently far from the most reliable or clinical and that is what separates the best from the also-rans.

Hopefully over the course of this season, Rangers will continue to develop and improve and show all and sundry they have the mettle to compete at this level as well as the ability.

Four points from the first six for a newly-promoted team is not too bad. It is something to build on; while Warburton will know there is plenty to do, and by no means are Rangers anywhere near the finished article, there are nevertheless foundations to work with.

It…is something.

24 COMMENTS

  1. Thought 1st half after 10 mins or so was good. 2nd half poor. Our passing in 2nd half was patchy and we looked increasingly more nervous. Same failings at the back. Wilson gets right ony nerves and who was supposed to be picking up 6 foot 2 O'Hara. Still a good 3 points and we will get better.

  2. I listened to it all on the radio and it was nerve wracking to say the least!!

    Dens Park is a notoriously difficult place to pick up 3 points so to grind out a result this early is terrific.

    The lads will gel a lot quicker from battles like yesterday and soon we'll dominate from start to finish.

    Genuinely I'd be happy with a top 3 finish this season… Celtic will get just shy of £20mil if they qualify for the Champs League and they will definitely invest in a European squad :-/

  3. Given time I think things will settle down,we desperately need two CB's of quality and with Bougherra available I wonder why we don't get him in. He knows the expectation and club and apart from his occasional runs up the park thinking he is Messi, I feel he is a definite option, I would like to see another in the form of the big Jamaican lad Marrispa(forgive the spelling), seems well thought of and would be a good signing, I am however unsure of his availability now. Hill needs time to settle and Keirnan and Wilson are still young and their inexperience needs a level head beside them. Striker wise I'd love to spend the 900k on the Welsh lad from Walsall, this deal should have been done by now. My opinion and probably not that of everyone's but I think these three would give us a solid overall team. To see Rangers sitting top of the league this morning, albeit just until with Celtic and Partick play, was a proud momment and o e long overdue, lets hope that's the picture next April.

  4. I'm pleased that we battled to the end, however I have always had misgivings about the central defence. This concern goes all the way back to the game against Burnley when Warburton first put the team together. I did think eventually they would gel and get better. Sadly this has not been the case. Rangers need a big hard CB who can defend, every other player in the team an pass the ball for him, we just need him to defend. I think in this current team Halliday could easily play as a sweeper behind a CB, he can tackle, organise and is fit enough to get across the back four. This would not be a final solution but mearly an observation.
    On another note, does anyone think we are missing Holt? I think the team is screaming out for his guile.
    Finally, Rossiter is an outstanding young player. Overall, I'm happy this morning.

    Iain

  5. Clearly the best team in the league?………..did you see the Tims game tge other night?

    But for the Well goalie it would have been double figures, Sinclair is going to run riot in this league whilst Warbs is unable to bring in the striker and centre half that he wants because of lack of funds.
    If they qualify for CL proper it's £25m in the bank…………..Warbs can bump his gums all he wants about it's how you spend the money that counts but he's fooling no one………….quality costs money!

    • No we didn't as we are not interested in watching that disgusting shower. Why wou we? I would rather watch my parents have sex to be honest

  6. That centre-half position is critical…if we dont get one within the next 1-4 weeks,then our chances of lifting the title will be zero…yes,Warburton has got us playing,what i consider,exciting football but as in the old days, its the points that count.
    In some games to win a championship,you need to grind out victories which means you need a solid defence….

  7. It was alright but still the same old same old at the back,
    We cam moan as long as we want because thats all we can do as we dont make decisions but Wilson & Kiernan need to go Dave needs to spend some cash otherwise it will be 3/4th place for us if we are lucky!

  8. Don't see how we can compete with the filth's superstars. About time SE wrote a few more cheques

  9. It would be nice if DK gave us a few bob,
    Hopefully the boy Garner & SENDEROS might make a difference.
    I really would like to see a striker who is a bit more direct im fed up with 80 passes for Fk All,
    And hopefully Senderos [ who used to be called SendeDROSS] at The Arse will make a bit of an impact, TBH he could nt be worse than Wilson & Kiernan,
    Anyway it is what it is & we need to get on with it bring it on

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