Rangers’ Progres – what we learned last night…

 Article by: Ibrox Noise

For those underneath a rock, Rangers made their long-awaited return to Europe last night, in a match under the glare of the spotlight. Much was made leading up to the encounter about how Rangers would and should stroll this match, with scorelines expected in the region of five or more.

Pre-match, Rangers’ ex midfielder engine man Alex Rae concurred with this and declared a comfortable night for the Ibrox men, and a glut of goals.

But as we know, life is not that simple, not that binary, and an odd evening in Glasgow’s south side taught us a bunch of things about our team – some we patently already knew, others fresh to us. Here is your Ibrox Noise guide to the good, the bad and the indifferent.

Niko Kranjcar. Let us peak. Let us get the highlight of the match out the way first. While some of Kranjcar’s skill was a touch of luck with a few breaks of the ball here and there (the ball accidentally bounced off his shin at one point to keep a dribble going), the 80-time cap Croat was a class above anyone else on the pitch. For the first 35 minutes his passing was radar, picking runs out with ease and effortlessly holding possession. Rangers have missed a quarterback like this for a long time, and while he is reaching the end of his career, he has a few years left. Easily the best part of the match, and as he tired into the 50th minute, Rangers lost their way.

Which takes us onto Niko Kranjcar. Let us get this elephant in the room out there. The guy cannot last. Even last season when he was just gaining fitness he was out on his feet by about 65 minutes in matches and incapable of contributing any more. He has a real problem with stamina and has rarely looked productive deep into second halves of matches. Here is hoping the team at the Rangers Training Centre can get more out of him because as we saw last night, no Niko, no Rangers.

Martyn Waghorn. There was barely a Bear whose heart did not sink when he was named – but it was predictable. And he was a ghost for his entire night. Ibrox Noise has advocated the end at the club for him, much to general agreement, but he still seems to be there. What do we have to do to get this guy out the squad? A failure at this level completely, pure and simple.

Jordan Rossiter. Biggest smile of the night was the sight of the chirpy wee Scouser finally coming on. And he looked energetic, unaffected mentally by his spell out, and hungry to get involved. Why he did not start is beyond me. He should have.

Jason Holt. He did not bad last season in the DM position but it beats me as to why he started when we had Rossiter on the bench for that slot. He is an honest pro, who gives his all – but that is not enough for me and it is time Holt sat on the bench.

Formation. Only Michael Stewart, a raging Hibee (and probably tim) called it right – all the media seemed obsessed with Rangers being in a 4:3:3 last night, but it clearly was not. It was indeed a 4:2:3:1 with Holt alongside Jack in midfield while Miller, Dalcio and Kranjcar were the three up top behind Waggy. Ibrox Noise got the formation right with three selection mistakes (Waggy over Morelos, Holt over Rossiter, and Dalcio over Pena).

Defence. Thankfully Progres did not threaten too much overall but when they did, Ranges’ backline was creaky. Bates was weak under pressure, gifting them an easy chance they nearly scored from, while Tavernier was perpetually in attack mode and only Cardoso had a decent night. As we have warned, to much protestation and abuse, this defence is not ready yet. Bruno will make a difference, yes, but with Wilson out till August, Bates is not good enough in backup. Not for us anyway.

Dalcio. Not consistent enough. Showed flashes now and then but created next to nothing and faded in and out. Good first 15 minutes then disappeared till about 70. Did not appear much better than the man he might arguably be replacing in McKay.

Jack. Comfortable night and fairly strolled it – looked perfectly in his element at Ibrox and did not wilt under pressure. Has a tough job in defensive midfield for this club but might just be the anchor we have sought for long enough. Easy to see why Pedro wanted him as critical priority.

Morelos. Lack of service did not help, but if this was a sign of things to come, he has ground to make up before he convinces. Hopefully it was an off night but he did not look like he even wants to be here. Had a lazy unenthusiastic look about him.

Candeias. An average cameo. Spent too much time infield and next to none on the flank. He is a winger, right? Made one good run which nearly yielded a goal, and tried to prove to everyone how energetic he is by charging down a defender (who he fouled), but this was a patchy debut at best.

Cardoso. While not quite at the level of his soon-to-arrive countryman Alves, he looked more assured than his partner. Seems strong in the air, with good positional sense, and should have bagged a goal but for a fine save. This could be a good partnership once it gets going, but it needs cover.

Overall this was Rangers’ first night out of the new season, and naturally you want to accommodate for that. Celtic lost to the Imps last season and went onto stroll the title. But they lost out there. Rangers are yet to travel. The display last night was not a disaster, but for any Ranger who expects the best from their team, at this level, the result arguably was. This was not a third round Champions League Qualifier against AEK Athens like in 1994 when we were beaten rather easily by an underestimated Greek side – this was a really weak version of Luxembourg’s St Johnstone in the first round of the Europa League. At home.

And it really was worrying to watch Rangers’ impotency up front for 35 minutes despite the creativity from Kranjcar, and how Rangers faded so badly as the Croat did. The second half, however you dress it up, was rather poor, and for all the patronising Scottish media claiming Progres will be happy to have only lost 1-0, the truth is they will be disappointed they did not get anything. And that is a damning indictment.

The reality is the selected XI was pretty disappointing to see pre-match – all these signings and only three started, leaving mostly the old guard from last season that already was already not good enough. This was not a great sign.

We are RANGERS. We should not be happy with such an underwhelming win when pre-match fans and media alike were talking a cricket score. For this site, there were definitely bright spots, which we have just highlighted, but the negatives were troubling. The same old problems which far better teams than Progres will exploit.

Hopefully Pedro will figure these issues out before they become a serious cross.


  1. Would say the reason Rossiter didn't start would be down to fitness. Candeias needs to stay out wide and have Tavs put him in through the back, he seems rapid and as long as he has the fitness and stamina to match he will terrorise WBs and FBs.

    All well and good saying we should get lots of goals but it was a comfortable 1-0 win with no major thoughts that they might pull one back. Same should go for the away leg a 1-0 win will do, unless of course Waghorn doesn't start, then it should be 2-0. 🙂

  2. The game went ok and it could have been more but 1-0 we should still go through but i am not happy with that game some of the new players need to up there game but the one old face that played should not have been on the pitch.

  3. Got to say… a bit of perspective here please. This was in effect a pre season game. A win without conceding will be good enough, they won't score over there. It will come good. Niko was superb. I agree that the same old failings are still there (waggy tav etc) but I saw enough in the first half hour to suggest we have the makings of a good side for the coming season. I have to say (and this won't be popular) but Wallace is never a hers captain. Oh and P.S Pedro put out a

  4. Sadly last night all I saw was Warburton mark 2. I don't blame any of the players for last night's performance I blame the manager who's tactics for both last night's opposition and SPL games is woeful. He plays a lone striker against three or four defenders and it does not work. He needs to realise he needs two central attackers supplied by only one good winger with a midfield prepared to come into the box to support the strikers. He can commit as many players on the wings as he likes and I counted as many as five at any one time last night the simply fact is the goals are in the middle and to score that is where the players should be. Also like Warburton he has an obsession with meaningless possession which leads nowhere. He is also sounding like Warburton at his press briefings with the same old excuses being trotted out. Looking at the friendlies we have had we have managed one own goal to our name because he is clueless when it comes to setting up a team to score goals one central striker was the same system we played under Warburton and look what happened there. I hope Graeme Murty is still with us at Xmas as I fear he is going to be called upon again unless Pedro changes his tactics.

  5. A lot of similarities to last season. A lot of possession but very little in going forward into attacking positions and scoring goals. Niko as you mentioned was our stand out performer and shows the need for a very good creative midfielder to play in this type of formation …. for 90 minutes. This type of CAM provides the link between defense, midfield and attack for the formation to become effective. That said this is first real game this team has had together and it will take time for the team to gel. We have Carlos Pena still to make his debut and if we sign Dorrans this will add cover and options to the CAM conundrum we have at the moment. We have Herrera to come in as well who (in my opinion and i guess everyone else) will take waggys place. We need a big target man in this type of formation. Then we have Kenny and Morelos competing for a place which again adds more options to this team.

    My starting 11 for the season starting:
    GK: Wes
    Def: Wallace Cardoso Alves Tarv
    Midfield 2: Jack Rossister
    Midfield 3: Dalcio Niko Miller
    Striker: Herrera

    Progessing to

    GK: Wes
    Defense: Wallace Cardoso Alves Tarv
    Midfiled 2: Jack Rossister
    Midfield 3: Dalcio Pena/Dorrans Candelias/Moreles
    Striker: Herrera

    This would remove Waggy from the team and used as a back up. This might even make him up his game if herrera turns out to be the quality he is.
    We remove our reliance on Niko and Kenny, we need to move away on being dependent on these guys but as the season starts i accept we will be but as the lads get to grip with the team we should be more reliant on Pena/dorrans candelias and morelos. but again we have options.

    The game on the whole filled me with more positives and negatives. This team is going to improve and with the additions coming in we are looking good for this season!

  6. Play like that against Celtic and there will truly be a cricket score.

    Had the Luxembourg outfit equalised the return leg would have been a hell of a problem. Half expecting 2-1 and scraping through on the away goal over there.

    Disappointing that after a speech by King and a wee video package to hammer home no sectarian abuse etc it took about 3 minutes for it to begin only to be ramped up in the second half with the worst of the worst coming out. Maybe something to do with how dire the second 45 was?

    Glad the morons flinging stuff on the park got boo'd, shows there's some people that understand how it looks.

  7. Being our first game, I thought we did rather well considering we only started with 9 players. God only knows why Tav and Waghorn still get a game, only Pedro could explain that one. Progres, like most SPL teams, defended with 11 and counter attacked. But the most important thing is we did not give the away goal to them. If we score one over there, they will have to score three.
    I very much agree with Ibrox Noise assessment of the team and game. Different players, but same old habits seem to be there, either weak at the back and impotent up front. Early days, I know and new players still to bed in, but I will take any win in Europe.

  8. I think Caixinha has made two big mistakes. First is the wings. He joins a long list of Rangers managers to completely neglect to recruit quality wingers who are a constant threat to the opposition's defence. Does anybody at all think a 29 year old who's had a nomadic career and a Benfica U21 misfit is strong enough? Celtic have Sinclair, Forrest, McGregor, Hayes, Mackay-Steven. Aberdeen have Greg Stewart, Ryan Christie and Maloney. Yet again we're not looking like the kind of team who puts 5 or 6 past anybody, even with a full house again a mid-table side from Luxembourg.

    Releasing Hill is his other mistake, reminiscent of Warburton realeasing MacGregor. We finally found a defender who can defend and he's been let go.

    On a more positive note, Alves > Jack&Rossiter > Kranjcar/Pena > Herrera seems like a very strong backbone to the team. Not just in terms of ability but in terms of strength too which we've been severely lacking. I'd like to see a Herrera and Morelos partnership but it doesn't look likely.

  9. Forgot dalcio he is a loanee who is in the mould of dodoo in that he can't make up his mind whether he's is a winger or a forward get Jamie walker in right away he is a proven goal scoring wide player who is miles better than dalcio or mackay there is a reason guys like dalcio toral and hyndman are available on loan while dorrans and walker's clubs are reluctant to part with them they are tried and tested pros and exactly the type of players we should be pursuing

  10. Some of the most pessimistic reporting i have ever read.

    Some players did not convince you after 30 minutes, so now they have to prove themselves? Give the team a chance. Ripping into Holt, Dalcio, Waghorn (though deserved) Cardoso (he isn't as good as Alves seems to be your main complaint), Bates, Nico (just back from 8 months outs) and Morelos (played 15 minutes) but inexplicably missed out Foderingham (made a mess of the one shot he had to save).

    This team is just getting to know the tactics, where/how teammates want the ball passed, and to know each other.

    I think that Waghorn only played so that we had some consistency from last years team. Heaven forbid if we had 7 players that had never played together before, and no experience of how each other plays. You would be on here with the tired cliches of "if anyone bids for him i'll drive him there myself".

  11. I agree with most of the assessments made in the article, my own personal views are that Nico might only have the stamina for 60 minutes, I can live with that, as he would be a fantastic game changer if he was used sparingly and often from the subs bench, I just hope he can keep fit for the whole season.
    I thought Ryan Jack looked comfortable and gave us steel-like challenges in midfield, something we have missed for a long time. Let us hope he ends up like Ian Ferguson, minus the injuries, as we need toughness throughout the team.
    I feel we are often too critical about Bates, this young guy was a Raith Rovers youth player we acquired, thrust him into a level far greater than his abilities, but for me gets pass marks and the guy he had last night to cope with , number 87, may have not been skilful but was a handful to cope with. Cardozo looked composed and reads the game well.
    One point most fans will disagree with me is Jason Holt; a lot of supporters don't like him as he is lightweight and doesn't seem to generate much in the game, but if you look at how the team performed in the first half, then after he went off, the opposition got right back into the game. Holt does a power of work very few others do, he does a lot of his work off the ball, making runs, covering players, blocking passes, just by his positioning. Now I am not saying we can't replace him for someone who is a better technically gifted player, but we need someone like him in the team. Although not as gifted, he is similar in stature and job he has to do as Alex MacDonald and Stuart McCall, if he works on it, those are the players he should be aiming to be like and Holt is only 24, time to develop yet.

  12. Worrying signs lat night for me! Kranjcar has sublime ability but not the legs, and in the hurly burly of Scottish football he won't last the season. Dalcio is a downgrade on Mckay. The understanding that McKay has with Wallace on the left flank would have pulled Progress apart last night. Candelas looks like O'Halloran mark two – can run with pace – but straight into whatever wall is in way. Despite the changes we still rely on 37 year old Kenny Miller and I fear it will be that way for most of the season. Pedro is not a class act. Tactically naive he is quick to blame the players for poor performances. He says that he can't produce miracles in three weeks – but he's had three months with most of last nights team. He talks about his standards. What standards – this guy has no track record to speak off, nothing to prove he knows what he's doing. Players are strange you know – they will not take a bollocking lightly from someone who has nothing in his locker to command respect. Show us your medals Pedro – thought so! Really when have Rangers played well under Caixhina? Freak win at Pittodrie? Also is he really interested in Dorrans, McLean or Walker – not really sure he is. Bids to date have been derisory where we have simply got on with it and got the deal done when it's come to Mexicans and Portuguese. I fear he is creating divide in the dressing room. Sad to say it – but he'll be gone by Xmas and we'll be trying to offload another 6/7 players..

    • Hi Dexter,

      I totally disagree with your point of view. This is a team that is developing and many players to come in and give us options. We will be reliant Kenny and Niko especially at the start of the season until the other players get up to speed. Dalcio, to me looks like a good player as well as Candelas but again too early to make any judgement. Lets see how they play come the start of the season. Motherwell on the 5th of August should give us a good indication on how well this team is progressing as the team will have had an extended pre-season and with potentially 6 competitive games under the teams belt.

    • Good comment Gary they will get much better for sure …dont like the negatives …Mc Kay no thanks

    • Negativity or realistic that is the question! I think we will get by this season, finish second, realise that we need an innovative approach to our predicament then move forward! Where is the money going? We had huge attendances last year, the sale of corporate hospitality, food and beverage is never mentioned! Is that because it's cash? Feel that we are still getting fleeced!

    • Hi Gary
      I sincerely hope you're right and I am way wrong – but seriously what gives you any confidence that Caixhina knows what he is doing. Performances since he took over have been very poor, and the two Old Firm games he presided over were as bad as I've ever seen a Rangers team play in these matches. For me he is a snake oil salesman – the new le Guen. I don't care much for his manner either. You can have a big mouth as long as you can walk the walk as well as talk the talk – but Pedro needs to prove himself before he bumps his gums all over the place – otherwise he makes us a laughing stock. As I say I hope I am wrong – if so I'll be a very happy bear!

  13. I agree with most of this post. The fans were absolutely amazing yet again. To sell out the 1st qualifier when usually you would be lucky to get 10k just shows how much our fans have rallied around the team. The 1st half went ok and Niko was defo the star man. after the half hour mark the crowd was starting to get a bit nervous. Dalcio didnt impress me much. Cardoso looks like a player, very cool in possession.

    On Waghorn, the poor guy ran his heart out, I was sitting in the broomloan end. He was making good run after good run but no one was noticing him. You could see he was getting upset about it and had a word with a few players. When he was spotted the final ball was poor. He was in good positions for crosses as well but again the final ball was poor. When he was replaced by Morelos the movement uptop just stopped completely . He does miss a few sitters no doubt but he puts in alot of effort and with a bit of luck and better balls from his team mates we could be discussing a totally different player.

    The style i seen last night will suit a penalty box striker. This is an incomplete squad. Will be interesting to see how good Herrera and Pena are, it looked like we were 3 players short

    • And I agree with most of this. I know Kenny is untouchable to all, but I am convinced he upsets the whole balance of the forward line when played as a striker. He simply isn't one. He's a forward and he can't keep one position for more than one minute. I also agree with the poster above about Holt. Workrate and effort excellent. Difference being that he is supposed to run about. Miller is supposed to be in the middle to reap the benefit.
      Anyway, yes, it's game one, it's a new team and it's early days. That doesn't make the same issues rearing their ugly heads any the less relevant.
      It won't matter if Walker, Dorrans or fecking Ronaldo come into that team if we don't play with a proper goalscorer in the box.

  14. So negative on here!
    Cardoso looked class, Jack and Rossiter are exactly what we have been missing last year. Nico showed his quality, just needs fitness! We still have the spine of the team to come in (Bruno, Pena and Herrera). It's the 1st game, give them time! The future is bright! Mon the Gers!

  15. Chin up guys. I've been watching the Gers since I was 5 years old in 1950 and I can't remember a season when we started well. We will improve. Language difficulties will ease and the players will develop relationships. I reckon it's too late for McKay as his mind is already in Nottingham. Dalcio will definitely improve but is he better than Dodoo? Krankjar was immense in his first competitive game in 9 months and it was great to see Rossiter getting battered and coming up smiling. Candeias gave the team a wee lift but reminded me of Forrester, but again he'll get better as well. Ryan Jack should be a fixture. Fabio Cardoso has quality and I can't wait to see him with Alves. Waghorn didn't add anything to his sell on value. I'm sure we'll finish the job on Tuesday and have a tie against Limassol? to look forward to. At least we won. St Johnstone would have loved a 1 nil victory. Mon the Gers!

  16. I agree with Stevie above. It's early days and this team will be miles better than last years excuse for a team.
    We've reduced the gap to the sellic by 20 points already before a ball is kicked. Now lets reduce it further! Good news is that we can do that
    because we have Pena and ALVES etc still to play plus maybe more.
    I'm a happy bear but Morelos should have started.
    It's very early days – pre season competitive games – This team will kick on.
    Happy days!

  17. Ah ffs….. What the hell are some of you guys wanting??
    We are basically in pre-season, with a good number of new signings, with a transition to an entirely different ethos and tactics, with players still getting to know each other personally never mind know each other on the field. Despite ALL of those FACTS we have ome bears and some supposed bears on here castigating players, having a pop at the manager, doubting tactics, doubting signings etc etc ad nauseum. That is the same mentality as those who were stupid enough that we were going to come up from the Championship and win the Premier League. Get a grip on reality. Give the manager and the players a bloody chance ffs.
    What is the matter with some of you lot?? Is Pedro not a "Rangers man" so therefor not good enough?? Well we have seen what a mess "Rangers Men" got us into.
    Pedro needs to be given a chance. We need to get behind him and the players not on here and other places taking pot shots, undeservedly.
    Rangers are at the start of a new era. It aint going to happen overnight.

  18. Some really positive comments unfortunately some not !! It's only just begun guys ..please let's give the Manager and the New Players a chance ..We will look and be better than last season for sure . I look forward to seeing Herrerra and Pena added to the team . Kenny M legend what a great role model for all at Ibrox .Facing a side like this after being together just 3 weeks …not too shabby eh !! Onwards and upwards WATP #fuckyer10inarow

  19. I am excited about the season ahead and the players signed, I thought jack and cardoso & rossiter were easy on the eye with the 2 Mexican "internationals" still to debut I was trying to make the point that if we are to challenge celtic and in Europe then we should go for guys like dorrans and walker who really understand the clubs tradition and are fans to boot but I have disagree with Doug in that if you have seen walker play you will know he is more than capable of creating and finishing his own chances regardless of who's up front which is exactly the reason I'd love to see him at ibrox as the song goes . . . . He's one of our own

    • Well up for having Walker on board, he's a top young talent, which can't be bad. I know nothing of Pena, Herrera, Morelos etc. so not castigating them. I just want to see these guys do their thing, I don't want to see the same crap, different faces, which is what we got Thursday. Brilliant to see Rossiter back, brilliant to see Niko rule to show, brilliant to see Jack imperious, brilliant to see Cardoso lay down some rules. I just also want to see more GOALS! Still pumped for the season and always behind any Rangers manager and all those that wear the blue, 100%.

  20. Seems to me that there needs to be time given to the players and management! Sure things could have been better although I think we have long road to go before we are serious contenders. My season ticket allowed me free access to the game last night. The next round isn't so I suggest we make sure everyone with season tiks but the next round tiks by thrashing the Lux mob away!

  21. Oh dear. I missed this match through being in Greece on holiday, so I've bought a ticket and am travelling to Luxembourg for Tuesday's game expecting a win. What worries me is that Limassol beat their Gibraltar opponents 4-0 away; will we be ready for that tie?

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