Sunday, 9 April 2017

The Silence of the Sheep


Few could deny Pedro Caixinha’s start to life in Scotland has not been the smoothest. Despite that convincing dispatch of Hamilton on his debut, the Portuguese’s methods since then have come under the spotlight, as did his underwhelming subsequent two matches; first that mediocre draw against Steve Robinson’s Motherwell, before an even more average loss of two points at Jig’s Killie.

Coupled with revealing his team selection for Rugby Park 36 hours early, to explaining his actual tactical methods in detail during press conferences and club videos, to borderline accidently insulting Kenny Miller as an old man whose best years are behind him; Pedro has not had it easy of late, drawing scorn from most.

So when he took his men to Pittodrie with the proclamation that it was ‘must-win’, few gave him any kind of hope he could mastermind even a draw against a side with 10 home wins in a row under their belt never mind a win.

And in truth after 20 minutes, few still saw anything other than a home win at full time for the record books. But something happened around the mid-point of the first half; a previously-under par Rangers actually started to work, and work hard. From Jason Holt’s constant hustling, to Kenny Miller’s dogged work both deep and advanced, to Wes Foderingham’s superb catalogue of saves not to mention Danny Wilson’s colossal defending, this was the first time we had truly seen the shape of Caixinha’s work ethic and philosophies starting to emerge. For Rangers to get to half time with a clean sheet showed just how well the unit was grafting – and their manager was absolutely screaming from the touchline, particularly at Tavernier and Bates, for varying reasons.

While the second half was most definitely backs-to-the-wall stuff, with the hosts having the best of play, they failed to do a thing with it, mostly due to the defensive shape Rangers were constantly using – for its faults, the Wilson/Bates partnership is yet to concede a goal, and the senior in that pairing is a major reason why. He was massive today, and continues to flourish in Rob Kiernan’s (merciful) absence. While Bates had his moments, he too was impressive at times, and used his height as best he could. Meanwhile behind them Wes Foderingham might as well have donned a white cape and hat crying “you shall not pass” such was the wall he created on the goal line.

Hamilton was impressive, but this was simply admirable. While Aberdeen were the better side till Miller’s astonishing opening goal, we Rangers fans have had 18 months of ‘being the better side but failing to capitalise on it’. Today, Derek McInnes was Loaf Man and Aberdeen were his Rangers – constant passing and ineffectual play ‘and random bad luck’ of course.

For once, the shoe was on the other foot. It was Rangers who soaked up the powderpuff attack over and over again, and when Dodoo came on, the entire landscape changed. In a spell of five minutes, the criminally wasted ex-Leicester man set one up and scored another, while contributing to a seismic shift in play after his arrival which saw a loose ball clinically dispatched by Miller to give Rangers a significant lead. For all their pressure, for all their shots, the Dons had not made a dent, and Rangers swiftly went up the other end and put away three without reply.

This was a monumental win for Caixinha. In 18 months of his overrated regime, the previous manager had failed to win a single away match at a significant ground, losing everywhere from Falkirk, to Hearts, to Hibernian to Celtic – Caixinha comes in and takes all three points at the country’s current second best side.

Has this changed everything? Of course not, let us not knee jerk react and say all our problems have been solved in 90 minutes. Rangers’ squad is still diabolically inconsistent, and struggles against Motherwell while bagging three goals next to the North Sea. There is a massive amount of work to do, and second place still seems a long way off. The frustration is we know what these players can do when in the mood – Hamilton, Celtic and now Aberdeen showed that.

Can Pedro glean that quality from them more consistently and prove he is the right man to take Rangers forward? Only time will tell but it suits all of us Bluenoses down to the ground to see this continue.

Curiously though, despite the arguably indifferent start Caixinha has actually made at Ibrox, the great irony is he already has three clean sheets and only one goal conceded in all four of his matches.

For a manager struggling, there are worse ways to struggle.

16 comments:

  1. You clearly watched a different game to me. At the 75 minute I was bemoaning the lack of effort from most of our team. Our keeper kept us in the game, we were out muscled, out played and out fought.
    All we are doing is papering over the cracks, which are getting larger. We are meant to be a fit side but Aberdeen seemed stronger.
    To take our best player of in Hynman was mental. We have all but ensured that he will want to be at Celtic next year.
    We are as poor a side as we have ever been. Sadly the one man who seemed to get Rangers right was Murty and he never got the job.
    For me, it's plain that the players do not trust the new manager or want to play for him.
    Well done Wilson, Beerman and millar along with the keeper they got pass marks.

    Iain

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    1. i cannot believe i have read a post like this about a team that has been castigated all season for negitivity and yet we had some very good performances all over the park i know football is all about opinions but i do wonder what your expectations are

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    2. Gerald,

      If you were seeing this game in a positive light in the second half, you're a better man than me. I would love to watch flowing football etc, but I honestly believe that we got out of jail today. I'm just sick to the back teeth of 'one foot forward, two back'.

      Iain

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    3. Hyndman has been our best player but was less than a man short on Sun.

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  2. The thing is this is still warburtons team. And he's def getting more out of them. The defence was a problem and 1 goal in 4 games has been remarkable, we were conceding about 1 a game with warburton. Def have improved. Jist a few more players to be dropped and we can welcome the summer

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  3. Nonsense Iain - better in the first half and should have been a goal up at HT. Second half showed previously missing mental strength and resilience in the face of pressure. To end up with a score line of 3-0 was top drawer and one of the best results of the season.
    I agree Windass didn't make a difference, but Dodoo did - start him in the next game, Ped the Ted.

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  4. Big difference is that we have stopped pissing about at the back with a dozen back passes to Fod before getting ball over the half way line. He and other defenders have gained in confidence even Tav which says a lot. Super goals from the Old Man! Sign him up.

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    1. A huge result at Aberdeen. They were going for 11 home wins in a row. I just marvelled at the confidence of Beerman who has just turned 18 and Dodoo 20. Bates 20, has now played in two shut outs in the back four. His positioning is first class. It's a huge step up for the boy and if he can quicken up like Danny Wilson has recently, his confidence and assertiveness will make him a rock in our defence. Bringing on Windass and Dodoo was a big, big statement from Pedro. Delighted for Joe. Many of these lads did not get their chance with Warburton and worse still coming on with 10-15 minutes to go you are on a hiding to nothing. Yes at times we were out of it but look at the end result at Aberdeen, the wonderful goals, and Europe next year.
      Kenny Miller, I'm lost for words. If he was given a five year contract I would ask why isn't it more. What an inspiration, to his team mates, the fans, the young guys he coaches. Possibly the most important man at Ibrox after Pedro. I'd say so.
      It was ironic that Joe Dodoo had to rely on a pass from an Aberdeen player to bring him into the game. Hopefully his team mates will take the hint. He has a huge future with us. C'mon the Gers.

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  5. To be honest right up until we scored I was not happy at all midfield 3 were poor n hyndman n toral didn't seem interested, same with garner n the ball was bouncing off waggy aw day. Wes kept us in the game then dodoo came on n changed the game in 6 mins n then after I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. Big positive is bit a of stability to the defence the 2 young lads don't look out of place n we managed to score 3 goals the whole problem with bread mans reign was conceding to many goals n not scoring enuf hopefully this is a sign wats to come. Last thing we must do everything to keep Miller this is the type of role model u need at our club.

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  6. Definitely a get out of jail today. If Aberdeen had their shooting boots on they would have been out of sight. Millers great finish knocked the stuffing out of them and we took advantage for a change. Still not enough closing down when we don't have the ball and not quick enough to get players in the box and supporting when we do. It's not pretty and i for one can't wait for next season to come with hopefully some new blood

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  7. Fuck me we couldn't agree on the colour of shite ffs..I bet there's still thousands of Gers fans wanting too see Ped fail so they can be proved right.. Nobody gave the Gers a Scooby Doo's chance the day don't deny it either.. As for Kris Boyd getting his digs into the new manager he wants to wind his neck in..Support the guy and the Team don't slate him because he does and says things different to the norm.. As for Iain Rankin Hyndman has been brilliant but the day he was a no show - he got hooked and look how the game turned out.. Dodoo has to start against PT as for Garner get him tae fuck...

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  8. David Weir was much older than Kenny Miller when he switched from defense to coaching; Gianluigi Buffon is till going strong-as is Tim Howard-two fine Keepers in their forties, and Madjid Bougherra could fix what ails Gers' defense easily.. Who is this coach yo insult the man who still scores goals for Rangers while others much younger can't find the back of the net? I am not impressed! Next he'll call Walter Smith 'ancient' ... and Sir Alex. He owes at the very least an apology to Kenny and to the Gers and to their supporters. And for others, I will remind that it isn't when goals are scored, but THAT they are scored-and more importantly, that the goals scored are enough to win-be it 1, 2, 3 or more. All this said, congratulations to Kenny Miller for his continued ability to get the goals that count, and to Rangers for their winning ways. To the coach called Pedro, I remind that a good coach never humiliates or reprimands a player in public. That is done in private.

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  9. What game were most of you watching. Wes had 1 good save the full match. The other shots were right at him straight down the throat with not that much pace. He only done what any keeper in the league should have done except for the Rooney effort where the ball bounces before he saved it. The after math is we go up the park nd score. How many games have we dominated possession created chance after chance and the other team has went up the park and scored. I for one am a happy bear. Ped got it spot on. Aberdeen have better quality players than us let's be honest. They are well drilled and are far more physical. On paper we should have been beat today but ped set up for us to soak up pressure and hit on the counter and what happened......The big man got it right...The fact he had enoigh trust in the defence to adopt tgat strategy after the colossal failures at the back all seadom speaks voluqmes of what he getting out of the players in training so the players dont want to play gor him comment is a complete waste of reading material. We all know there is going to be a clear out and influx of players in the summer so let's give the man the support he needs instead of slating his methods which by all accounts are a vast improvement to that of the bread man. WATP

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  10. After watching the great result for Rangers....naturally, very pleased with the result...cant understand why, Hyndeman was replaced...cant understand why,King Kenny hasnt been offered a new contract( he was our most decisive player AND was our CAPTAIN, how can you make a player captain then not acknowledge how important a player is..??? Pedro,start listening to others...they can make you a better manager...

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  11. We have to enjoy the result and a thoroughly professional performance. It gives me hope that we have solid "squad players" for next season and if we add 5 top quality "first teamers" we can get much closer to Celtic.

    Two defenders, two centre mid, one striker should be enough. Especially if Rossiter and Krancjar come back fit

    For the defenders I am struggling to find Scottish ones so would try to get decent young foreign ones for 1m or 2m like Celtic have done with Van Djik and Sviachenko recently.

    Midfield, I'd take Ryan Jack and John McGinn, striker I'd go for Jelavic if available.

    Obviously needs money to be available, just saying 8-10m buying 5 top players and we arent going to be far away

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  12. Don't care about the performance, to win 3 nil up there against the sheep is a great achievement the were in good form going in to game !! Well done to Pedro and the team am proud of you's as I feared the worst going up there. Am quietly optimistic going in the semi final game...

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