Have Rangers finally found the formula?

 Article by Sam Groves

When Rangers’ XI was announced an hour prior (as always) to last night’s kick off, there was barely a single Rangers fan in favour of the selection.

All the red herrings about Joe Garner starting had been just that, and defence saw an injured Danny Wilson miss out entirely and his partner Philippe Senderos dropped to the bench for Rob Kiernan and Clint Hill to unexpectedly be restored to first team action.

This site was hopeful/convinced we had seen the last of Kiernan and his name on the team sheet drew a collective groan from the faithful, with his selection and that of the team ridiculed by all and sundry.

Yours truly certainly was not exactly thrilled with it, with a continued lack of trust being placed in the new signings beyond Hill and Kranjcar, and a reliance on the personnel that got this side promoted in the first place.

And while the first 10 minutes loosely justified that concern and the hosts should have made Rangers suffer for their unimpressive opening when Doumbouya found himself with a free header inside the five yard box only to blaze over before four minutes, nevertheless when in-form Kenny Miller rocketed home a stunning 20-yard volley from Lee Wallace’s gloriously swerving cross 15 minutes later, it was really only the visitors’ to lose as Mark Warburton’s men truly stamped their authority on this fixture and went in comfortably one up at half time.

In short, last night, Rangers finally delivered a performance indicative of the side continuing that micro-renaissance this site discussed in recent matches, but ramping it up considerably.

Of course, Caley are eighth in the league and hardly Celtic, but if we are going to castigate Rangers for being held by the likes of Killie, Hamilton and County, we have to equally give credit for convincing victories too.

Niko Kranjcar especially delivered his finest 70 minutes in a Rangers shirt, pulling the strings of this match from midfield like an 80+ Croatian cap should – he was the outstanding performer, and but for Miller’s astonishing goal, would have been a stick on for the MOTM award. His passing was on point, his dribbling mercurial, and he is finally delivering the quality Rangers fans believed they were getting when he first arrived in Govan. My only hope is Warburton removed him to give him a rest, as it may still be believed the former Spurs man is not quite fully match fit yet – but he produced enough in his time on the pitch to show he really can be a fine asset for his new employer.

In truth, Miller aside, Kranjcar was really the only stand out – it was, otherwise, a very solid team display with the unit working hard for each other, but no one else truly producing a particularly memorable individual display, although Tavernier continues to impress on the right of defence.

Central defence, thankfully, was not overly tested, and, predictably, Kiernan was very shaky when under the slightest pressure, losing Doumbouya embarrassingly for the near-miss, but its failings did not cost Warbs’ men too much, and Lee Wallace, right on cue, actually had a pretty decent match apart from one dreadful loss of concentration in the first half. His excellent assist for Miller’s winner did not go unnoticed and there was something a bit more assured and purposeful about his display.

Halliday had a quiet night, while Jason Holt had a bad one – his form this season has been patchy, and he was loose in possession, while lacking composure up front. And, Miller aside, attack was pretty mediocre – Waghorn is hopelessly out of form at the moment, and McKay continues to be ineffective.

But Warburton seems loathe to start with anyone else. That said, given the unit as a whole did do the business last night, you have to argue he got it right. Sure, Inverness came back into it more in the second half, but at no real point did they look like scoring – even if fans’ fear over Rangers’ frail defence would suggest otherwise.

Rangers are simmering at the moment, flirting with making a breakthrough in this division. Up to third albeit having played a match more than Hearts and St Johnstone, there is just a glimmer right now that Warburton’s stubborn persistence is beginning to pay off, and no one would be more pleased to be wrong about his management style than this site.

Rangers went to a fairly solid SPL side’s ground and, like they did at Dundee, but with a little more style, got the result. It is still not as stress-free as fans would like, but there is just a seed of suggestion here that the team is moving, very slowly, into the right place.

Unfortunately the Celtic semi final comes at absolutely the wrong time, with too big a test for a side only showing embers of progress.

Prove me wrong on that one too, lads.


  1. I dont know what game you were watchin mate but cally nearly scored twice in the last 5 minutes,once again the right full back position comes into question.

    • I watched the same game as yourself. In the 4th and 17th minutes Inverness should have been two up, Douboumya missing two clear opportunities to hit the back of our net.And that glorious ball through to the Inverness winger in the second half when Tavernier was AWOL should have had Inverness three goals up. Keirnan surely won't be playing against Celtic and if Tavernier and Waghorn are, then Rangers will quite simply be overran. Garner and Dodoo looked sharp but tactics are woeful. How anyone can say " tavernier continues to impress " leaves me speechless, especially when Hodson is sitting on the bench and must be shaking his head in disbelief. Congratulations Kenny on your glorious 100th goal, a cutback from the wing, a ball as rare as an albatross in Scotland from this Ranger's manager. Celtic? My migraine's starting and it's a whole week away.

    • I watched a very disjointed team saved by a wonder goal. This team plays with no confidence with Tavernier, Halliday, Waghorn, Keirnan Holt and McKay either out of form or out of position or both. Hodson, MOH, Dodoo and Garner must start against Celtic but to be honest our tactics suck and I think our players believe that too.

  2. While we are showing a slight return to stability on the pitch things are once again becoming farcical off it. It pains me to agree with Chris Sutton but Warburton was made to look ridiculous by Jim Traynor waving him out of a press conference. Could you ever imagine him doing that to Walter Smith or Jock Wallace. Rangers and Warburton''s treatment of Barton is now a joke and if anything is starting to elicit a growing sympathy for the player. It needs fixed now. Seriously wondering if a warburton has the gravitas to manage at the top end.

  3. For a team that is based upon pace and attack, we aren't scoring many goals! I don't accept that MW doesn't have a plan B. He stated he'd only contract young players and has brought in several older players. He has changed the short corning template and we actually have long balls at times. So,let's take one step further and have horse for courses. If we play them with a 433 we will get over run. I honestly believe the only option is a 352: Foderingham; Hodgson, Wilson Wallace; Taveneir, Holt, Kanchar, Rossiter, Halliday; Miller, Garner. I would bring on O'Halloran, Crooks and Windass. This gives us toughness and pace. Having Tav in midfield and Hodgson at right back should plug a hole as well as stopping them coming forward.Waghorn and Mackay have slowed us down and dithered, we need to be more direct.

  4. The truth is Warburton's summer recruitment has been a disaster. What we really needed was 2 or 3 quality recruits that would require transfer fees – and Warburton should have made clear to King that a visit to the family inheritance was essential. The fact that this far into the season and Warburton still doesn't know his best team is an inditement. Players thrive in confidence and all the chopping and changing is only resulting in every player being short of confidence and playing below par.

  5. I think the team is poor. The new signings in the summer are not up to the job and neither is Warburton. He has seriously underestimated the quality needed to compete in the top league and his treatment of Barton has been disgraceful. Think his time is nearly up.

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