Madness with Motherwell – what the heck was that?!


Well blow me if that was the not craziest 90 minutes seen at Ibrox in many a year. Picking through the chaos of Motherwell’s visit takes some doing, and I find myself flummoxed as where to even start, but I will soldier on regardless.

Let us get the bread and butter out of the way – the first half was possibly the most incompetent Rangers display seen at Ibrox since the worst of Ally then Kenny. Only premature finishing and lack of composure stopped the Steelmen making good on their ridiculous superiority.

The second half? It just became…madness. A back four of Andy Halliday, Jason Holt, Jon Toral and Rob Kiernan has to be one of the most bewildering sights I have witnessed at Ibrox in a long, long time, and “I defy anyone to say” (Loaf Boy eat your heart out) that the formation made an iota of sense. Put simply there was not one. On one hand the changes partially worked in that Joe Garner’s fine finish earned Rangers a point, but on the other it forced the clear conclusion that Caixinha is not scared to try radical things, both to the possible benefit or otherwise of the team.

The problem is Rangers fans have gone from one comical extreme to another. From one manager who stubbornly stuck to the same pattern game after game, insisting it would come good eventually (probably around the year 2025) to a new manager who is more than happy to throw dice and go into radical Crazy Street in order to turn things around.

I cannot be overly critical – Caixinha still does not have counsel to aid him in the workings of the SPL and Rangers – but when one witnesses changes like we saw today which basically put 10 attackers on the pitch backed up by one defender, you do have to wonder what kind of manager Rangers have now.

The performance against Hamilton was clear, succinct, outstanding in energy, execution and general succour and the quality of play was as good as anything we have seen at Ibrox in five years. Two weeks Pedro had to work with the players and prepare for the next fixture, and somehow he conspired to make a complete mess of the good start he had enjoyed with a frankly abysmal first 45.

It was not just the early goal, although Loaf Boy’s ghost lives on with Rangers’ staggering inability to defend set pieces continuing, but the general demeanour of play as well; Motherwell bullied the life out of Rangers, and simply wanted the three points more. But for stunning goalkeeping from MOTM Wes Foderingham, they would have made good on their superiority. They played neat, tidy, incisive, defensive-splitting football and cut Rangers’ backline open with embarrassing ease, while seeming to have an extra man getting to nearly every loose ball. And before anyone complains about them being ‘too rough’ – sorry, but this is supposed to be a sport for men, a contact sport with physicality. If they dish it out, you dish it back. Took until around 60 minutes before Rangers finally did.

Motherwell did not come to Ibrox to defend, and it showed and Caixinha admitted that at full time:

“We had a different game in the first half and the second half. Motherwell were stronger than us, they were strong on the long balls and very strong on the second balls – if we won one second ball, we were lucky.”

But then that second half – from a possible 4-3-3 formation in the first half (it just was not anything like the clarity of the 4-2-3-1 v Hamilton) it went to Bonkers Row as Ped made three drastic changes – essentially subbing off the entire defence aside Kiernan (seriously, what does the lad have on the management at Ibrox?) and replacing them with attackers.

No denying it, that second half’s attitude was better, and saw more attacking, but I cannot say the quality of play was radically improved – and again, for better finishing and the lack of some miracle saves from Wes, Motherwell’s repeated waves of attacks (which continued venomously in the second) would have yielded rewards. Rangers simply had no midfield – although with the chaos of the second half, it beats me who they were supposed to be.

Pedro explained it was down to injury as to why he made the spate of subs:

“So we tried to make two changes at half-time (to fix the first half). But we also saw then that both Lees were struggling – Lee Wallace wasn’t 100 per cent and tried his very best, and Lee Hodson arrived with a high fever, Clint also felt his hamstring. So we were forced not only to change the mindset but then change everything else.”

One wonders then why Senderos did not replace Hill, nor Halliday out to RB where he has played before (in his defence he actually did ok at LB). Or why Wallace or Hodson even started when neither could last 90. If you have no fit full backs, would a three at the back not be a better idea?

This was…a bizarre second match in the new boss’s reign, and I sincerely hope Caixinha learned a great deal from it. He now hopefully knows some extent of what you can and cannot do in the SPL, or at least has some idea, because any more afternoons like today’s from the new manager would pour worryingly quick cold water on certainty he is the right man, no matter what reasons he cited for the madness.

Wednesday’s trip to Rugby Park is critical already. We thought we might have turned a corner against Hamilton, but evidently the team remains a work in progress and that really was just ‘new manager syndrome’. With a loss of another two points to Aberdeen, second place is now starting to seriously look unobtainable.

I hate to say it Ped, but you are already under bit of pressure – but then you knew and expected that before you took the job, knowing that this was a club which ‘had to win’ – your words. Hamilton showed what you could deliver with the correct preparation and selection; that has gone sideways now.

Here is hoping you can right it.


  1. As far as i could see at ibrox today ibrox noise,we played 3 at the back in the 2nd half against motherwell today,not a back 4 as you suggested mate!We played a back 3 of kiernan,toral & halliday in the 2nd half in which we were all over the shop!!

    • Yeh Peds interview after the match he said McKay and Ohalloran played as wing backs which I couldnt really see..Halliday definitely looked like he was playing more of a left back which I am sure he has played a few times when we have been short . I have to agree that it was a crazy game but to say he is under pressure already is even crazier.
      Also have to praise big Wes ! I was in the broomloan stand right behind his saves in the second half and couldn't believe how good they were. Think he has to be our player of the year for me !

    • Hello Robert!

      If you watched closely while we defended, Holt reverted back to a pairing with Toral as Kiernan covered the right and Halliday the left. Holt then advanced forward in a sort of sweeper-style role when we had the ball. It was certainly all over the shop, we agree there.

  2. Yeah ok it's gone back a bit, but without going overboard like you possibly did, the way we are we will be up and down, we recovered these past few weeks and today we went flat again and we often do after an international break, although we had next to no players involved and typically the two that were are affected by injury and illness, will do well to get a point at Pittodrie next week as they are the form club right now and I would rather play Celtic than them right now as they are maybe feeling things catching up with them a bit right now.

  3. Under pressure 2 games in???? Are you for real???

    I read your articals all the time because if find the a good read with good points….. until today!

    The man has inheritated a poor rangers team that he never put together has only worked with them for 3 weeks trying to change a mentality within a dressing room in that space of time takes time. Yes he threw caution to the wind but in my opinion he tried which is a lot more than previous managers and there "60 minute" men. I liked what he done and it showed he wasn't afraid to make changes. Yes I take it that players were ill/injured whatever. He took a risk got a point fair play to him he has my backing 110%

    But your statement "under pressure" is absolutely shocking get behind the man and step away from the keyboard support the team!!!! WATP

    • I credited his radical attempts at changing things around, but I'd have to agree to disagree that he wasn't under pressure before the Hamilton match. It's part and parcel of being Rangers manager, and while we promise to cut him slack, any Rangers manager who's not under pressure shouldn't be in the job. I actually like the man, and support him as we all do, but support and expectation are two separate things – and we have to see progress. It's why we have a new manager. My biggest concern is how instead of a modest start and improvement, he started brilliantly but now has gone sideways at absolute best. And if any Rangers fan has no concerns at all, it's a way of thinking I cannot relate to. But I respect your comments and thank you for them.

  4. fans need to realise that man for man we arent that much better than any of the spl teams. We lack the quality to beat these teams like celtic can.

    so any notion that warburton was the only problem should be stubbed out now.

    we need better players in defence,midfield and attack- we should aim to have a clear out as frankly nobody in that team is really that good. It speaks volumes that our two best performers this season are veterans.

    hope this shows all that money needs spent, and spent wisely otherwise we will be back here in a years time

  5. I agree with E-Chef after the game i am sure the manager saw players that were not up to the standard required,so the sooner he gets rid of about six players and gets players of a better standard the better and i would suggest he does not pick them from England but try overseas players whom he probably knows
    Today was a very bad day for Rangers and i hate to think of the games left which we have to play

    • Give Motherwell credit,they put it about early and Holt Toral Hyndman didn't want to know. They got tore in about us and we had no answer to it.I don't know what to make of our set up in the 2nd half but at least it won't be dull with this guy!The boy Cadden always plays well against us and is better than Mckay,stronger and braver.Get him signed.

  6. Peds can only work with what he has, we will only see the real pedro team next season!! Go say he is "under pressure" 2 games in is not only a stupid comment it stinks of Daily Record reporting!!!

    • The worst insult possible sir! We take it on the chin and respect your opinion. But I would say that any Rangers manager is under pressure before his first match as it comes with the territory – any time fans simply lose all expectation is a worrying day for Rangers. As for working with what he has, it is still a much better squad than the majority of the SPL bar Celtic and maybe Aberdeen and we hope for a radical improvement come Wednesday. As for real Pedro team, well we've seen the 'real Ally team' 'the real Warburton team' and neither has won us over. Third time lucky? We support him fully but in the way we will always praise when our team & management gets things right, we have to criticise when they get things wrong. And today falls into the latter category. We stand by that, as we stand by everything else we've ever published.

      But thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

    • I totally agree with the comments made by Cammy. 6 players have to go and be replaced with the best we can afford.

  7. The first half was poor to say the least. Lacking energy and second to every ball. The second half was like watching a Jimmy Calderwood team with all caution thrown to the wind. It got us a point but we were lucky not to lose in the end.

  8. They are not Pedros players and I'm pretty sure he would never have bought any one of them that had been bought by Warbs. He is experimenting with them, this is plain to see. He needs to see the players in game time and assess who is strong where.

    We need to give Pedro time to buy in his own players and bed his system of football into the team. One concern though,,,Pedro knew before the game that Wallace and Hodgson were both struggling, therefore, should never have played them and put players who were 100% in their respective positions, then we would have saved the subs, but, give him time.

    • They wasn't Murtys players either but look what he done with them.
      Time will tell but I have my doubts.

    • I hear what your saying true blue, but to be fair,Murty didnt have the best of starts either! Murty worked with the first team as much as he did with the under 20s, and his style was not to dissimilar to Warbutons therefore the players were still programmed to that style of play. Pedro is trying to re-programme our current batch of players to a totally different pass and movement style, more direct rather than tippytappity guff.
      It's only Pedros second game in charge, he explained the subs, but also explained Wallace and Hodgson were struggling before the game,,, that concerned me most about yesterday, they shouldn't have played. And it was Wallace who lost his man for their goal! But I agree true blue, I also have my own reservations due to the past recent failures in ally and warbs, so hopefully 3 time lucky this time.

  9. Horrible to once again see a Rangers team kicked off the Ibrox pitch. let's get this abomination sorted out and quickly. We have too many choir boys. Waghorn is too short and ridiculously one footed to play in the centre. Dodoo could add so much more if slotted in alongside Garner, give him a chance. Mckay needs to wise up and look at how quickly Miller delivered that ball for Garner. Wes fought like a Rangers player.Too many of the others did not.This team is screaming out for hard tacklers and ball winners, we just don't have them. Until we do our suffering will continue.

  10. Thing is, us fans generally believe and support our manager, just like we did at the outset with Ally or Mr Warburton. So yesterday was very poor, not worth debating, my one concern other than "just a bad day at the office" is if we lose to say Killie or Aberdeen, the call for new players will become even louder than before Ped signed up, can we trust him and is there a transfer kitty? J

  11. Tam burns,I totally agree with you and have been saying since the start of this season that we should sign motherwell wide midfielder chris cadden!!We've been linked with him for around a year now!Like you said mate cadden has everything,pace,power,delivery & can beat a player!I truly hope caixinha signs him in the summer!In my eyes he's a good one!

  12. I was at Ibrox and totally agree with ur
    Comments it felt like and looked like
    Madness. I take on board the managers
    Comments but have to admit his stock
    For me took a dent. Can only hope
    With time and money he can turn the
    Team around. The sooner he gets the
    Right Scottish number 3 the better.

  13. I admire his radical change. We've got to give this guy time. Unfortunately, i don't think we will. This is a pretty poor team we have..We have to be realistic, there's not much in the way of investment.

    I hope I'm wrong about Caixinha. He is a pretty bizarre appointment. Celtic are streets ahead of us and we're not known for our patience. I could see him gone by December.

  14. Well done ped for the second half, while not good by any means you can see he has fired them up at half time and right now passion for the badge is what I'm looking for. He does seem like he is winning the dressing room over and while not a good team performance Waghorn ran his socks off yesterday, Kenny miller played every position on the park, halliday showed the dig hes been missing in recebt weeks and Joe garner looked like a completely different player when he came on.

    Yeah we can say he should have left the lees out from the start but u can understand why he started with them in the first place.

    I feel yesterday was a blip in all fairness, motherwell performed better than they have all season which had to happen at some point and unfortunately they raised their game yesterday for a change and we payed the price but as for going forward, Im defo behind ped the ted, having the balls to make that change at half time and taking the flack after the game showed me he is willing to go the extra mile for the club even if it means being left to take the heat himself.

    Lookin forward to wednesday now to see what plan he has concocted for killie.


  15. This has got the feeling of ground hog day. When Warburton arrived with all his talk about how he was going to change things for the better we all bought into it and for the first few months the football was fantastic until he lost the plot totally. In Ped we again have an eloquent talker but who I already fear its going to be all talk and no action if yesterday is anything to go by. I hope we keep hold of Murty he had a good understanding of how to set up a team to compete in the league unfortunately you just have to check out Ped record as a manager to realise that he has not been successful wherever he has been check out his stats at his last club. I hope my pessimism is unfounded and we don't have Warburton mark2

    • Completely agree with Big Bear. This just screams of the same excuses as before. I think Ibrox Noise are right to say that Pedro is under pressure even only with two games gone. What Rangers manager WASN'T and hasn't been under pressure?

      But let's hope that Pedro isn't all talk and no results. We don't need another manager that's full of hot air.

    • Agree Big Bear this is an inevitable conclusion to come to watching that debacle on Saturday Warbs Mark 2 OMG !!. It was reckless and thoughtless . The players must have wondered what was going on !!!!!

    • Stranger still, if we had actually won on Saturday, would we be calling Ped the new Walter or deriding him as Warburton Mark2. That apart, all the talk about investment in new players has apparently gone off the radaŕ, perhaps because season ticket money is due, but wait there is more disastrous financial problems coming our way which if true will make you wonder what we are tolď?

  16. It always amazes me when teams come out after half time and magically do better…
    There is no effective communication from the touchline to the team – No matter what manager…
    They say that it's a game of two halves but this needs to change and quickly!
    Why wait 10 minutes to give the team ten minutes less time to score?! Crazy! Better communication earlier
    is paramount in modern football. Effective communication earlier!
    That second half! Lost for words – no comment! lol!
    Credit to Motherwell though. They fought like bloody champions. Never gave up. Amazing. If they played like this all season then…?
    Anyway, fair play to them. The score could have been 6-6!
    Little difference in the end. The aim is Europe after all!

  17. Why was Senderos on the bench if he was not even getting on after 3 forced defensive changes? I think we need to fork out for Mcginn or similar type of player with dig for middle,if we could get money for our defense i would not worry if we sold all defenders and started again,also striker with pace, i like waghorns technique but he is so slow that if we get into europe i cant see him even getting a touch of the ball.

  18. I genuinely can't believe this. Two games. TWO. With an inherited squad devoid of confidence and clearly directionless. And folk are doom and glooming it. Holy crap, guys.
    I thoroughly enjoyed the second half yesterday- balls out play from a lot of the team. Yes, it was terrifying and Foderingham made some good stops but so did the Well keeper. Garner was sharp as anything and could have had three. Miller squandered two gilt-edged chances. Waghorn led the line brilliantly. This is a team trying to transition out of sideways tip-tap stuff. First half, Barry slung a long ball right into the box and almost looked around to see if he did the right thing- they are adapting.
    Where we were outdone was in the middle- Holt and Toral were decent, but Hyndman got totally bullied off the ball and the ref let Well away with murder.
    But we were marauding second half; proper excitement built anytime we surged forward, proper terror every time we tried to defend.

    The old Brazilian teams used to go by the adage "if the opponent scores three, we score four". Second half looked like we had that mentality.

    Of course Ped is under pressure every time he goes for a Burger King and naively uses a green straw, but for f*ck's sake man his seat's hardly warm.

    Aberdeen are imperious at the moment; no way we'll catch them, but I'm looking forward to every minute of the rest of the season, be it pumping my fist in the air, or living on squeaky-bum time.

    Come on the Rangers.

  19. Yes he had a brilliant start but that was all down to the preparation Murty did done the weeks before. Pedro has had the team for over 2 weeks now to put his stamp on it n his 2nd game which was solely his preparation n team selection for me that was worrying and bazaar as has been said ther wer players on the bench like senderos n Halliday who play or have played in the defensive positions needing filled n he totally chose to b erratic n nieve in my opinion, absolutely crazy! I like the guy his confidence,work ethic but this can't be seen again. Wat else I don't want to hear so called every detail a team plays n then look foolish at the end of the 90 mins do yur homework ped n keep it to yurself how yur going to stop a team not give the other side time to rethink. Again nieve.

  20. wow now what the hell do we have here Caixinha you need a must win cup tie and beat Selltic in last league game or you must go before we start all over again.

  21. I looked at my screen on that corner and screamed "cover the back post" !! I wonder how many more will be scored in set pieces . They`re like Rabbits caught in Headlights.

  22. we are crap, we don't have the players to be anything other than a mediocre SPL team its that simple. Warburton wasted money on rubbish and Pedro has got nothing to work with.
    I have to say why play players who are ill or carrying injuries? give some of our youngsters a chance it couldn't be any worse than playing John Toral at centre half, i have to questions Pedro's judgement there. We have no chance of getting 2nd place although everyone involved should be strung up if we can't keep third. This summer needs some investment (if DK has any money) which needs to be spent wisely hopefully not on 2nd or 3rd rate English players, although even so its extremely unlikely we have anything like the money available to get anywhere near challenging celtic, 2nd place is probably a realistic target much as it pains me to say that.

  23. Once again the physical aspect of this group have been wanting as you say Motherwell bullied them off the park , its happened too many times against less than average opposition all season , its the players first and foremost along with the Warburton legacy it wont do !!! if we are to progress in the SPL at all Aberdeen are also physical .. we need to get some solid players in the back bone that has always been Rangers Strength in the past Centre Half to Midfield . I want good football but we need to have a winning mentality and desire . The Scum will strengthen this year and will look to move on to 10 we must at all costs stop them ,

  24. I think they should have left murty in charge till end of season, I hope im wrong but i can see another le guen situation. the last thing we needed was exprimental manager after 5 years of misery. we might have saved a fortune in wages also. I have just herd tonight of cetics approach to bournemouth about hyndman, I hope the boy is level headed and refuses to be involved in celtcs attemps to rub our noses in it.

  25. Lackadaisical start thinking Motherwell would be prepared to sit back and hit us on the counter but instead came out of the traps determined to get stuck in and fight for every ball. I think Pedro should take some blame as manager for probably thinking it would be an easy win after the good performance against Hamilton and allowing the team to take the field with that mentality. The team was on the back foot right from the start and the early goal just made Motherwell grow in confidence. To me the team in the first half looked leg weary, possibly even over trained in the last two weeks with only one day off.

    • I noticed the look on some of the players faces via clips from the training ground,they seemed bemused.While we need strong leadership we don't want dicatorship. It pains me to say it but rodgers manmagemet approach is the type to get the best out of playes albeit he is under no pressure, which is why i would have picked mc leish mc call & murty as the management team. Only time will tell.Ultimately u need a happy & hungry dressing room as well as real talented players.

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