Ten things we learned from Marseille

 Article by: Ibrox Noise

Few would deny Rangers’ pre-season has not been entirely plain sailing. Some disappointing close-door results along with a painful exit from European competition has left the club and fans licking our wounds and trying to figure out where things were going wrong.

So when news broke that Rangers were to face French giants Marseille the collective sigh and ‘we’ll get gubbed’ rung around many with a feverish intensity, many it must be said, including Ibrox Noise.

We feared today, with unsettled players, a manager unsure of his best strategy. We need not have worried.

While there remains some distance to go before Rangers are on the permanent road to restoration at the top of Scottish football, the performance and result today against one of Europe’s true marquee sides cannot be overstated.

Without further ado, here are some key issues we picked up in an impressive draw against Ligue 1’s finest.


Rangers’ defence is simply a different animal with Bruno Alves in it. We sung the praises of this guy, this signing, and when he finally made his maiden bow at Ibrox he was a colossus. Only he was as valuable for the effect he had on the players around him as he was for his own defensive abilities. The leadership qualities on display were the type quite simply missing for the past decade. We have not had such a titan there since the days of Weir and Cuellar – not even Bocanegra, Goian and Bougherra can be considered equals to this guy. He was magnificent and while he cannot quite sprinkle fairy dust on those around him to make them better players, he nearly just about does.


James Tavernier was a massive beneficiary of the Alves effect. He defended properly, he got forward, and seemed to raise his game to a level we have not yet seen from him at Ibrox. The defensive unity and bank of four appeared to inspire Tav and while he has a way to go to produce the consistency we need from him, if he delivers as he did today he is welcome at Ibrox and will be an asset.


The Dorrans and Jack combination in the centre of midfield added to the core spine Rangers have so badly missed in too long. Dorrans’ harrying and hard work both advancing forward and keeping Rangers’ shape in the middle kept the team ticking beautifully, while Jack smoothly dictated centrally and did the dirty work when needed. It was such a sight to see an old-school Rangers central midfield working like one should work.


4-4-2. So simple. What a difference this formation made. While on paper it seemed possible with the exception of Kranjcar, on the pitch this was a really smooth and well-drilled tactic. Everyone knew their role, the shape of the XI retained itself for the majority and it is the best organised Rangers performance I can remember, outwith the Hamilton result, but against a hell of a lot better opponent.


And that better opponent is what made this display so significant. This was not a mediocre display against some rank average SPL side, it was a fine showing against one of the top 50 teams in Europe. Rangers matched a side with Patrice Evra and Dimitri Payet, and maybe even bettered them. If you are going to castigate the side for the duff results against the weaker teams we have had this pre-season, you must praise for something like this too.


Pedro. He has not convinced everyone yet, including ourselves, but this is the first indication we could be wrong about him, and we would be more than delighted to have a ‘we were wrong about Pedro’ banner put on the site if he turns out to be the answer. We would love our club to be on the right track, and if today is any indication, there are signs of progress under the Portuguese.


Both Candeias and Herrera, disappointing in previous outings, excelled today. Both worked hard, tirelessly, and looked far more the part than we initially feared. Herrera kept pushing and did not give Mandanda any time to breathe, while Candeias beat men more than once to manage creating chances or winning corners. This 4-4-2 seems to have given life to the squad.


Kranjcar really loves Ibrox. Once again, like the first 35 v Niederkorn, he was outstanding, only he was unable to dominate solely this time because his team mates were doing the same thing! Plenty of those raking passes albeit a few did not quite work, but the desire to keep trying. He also lasted longer, keeping up his consistency till he was hooked. In truth he could probably have gone on. Hopefully the classy Croat is past his worst fitness problems.


Rangers can match almost anyone – the big key fact is if Rangers can get all their best players in the team, they have every chance of pushing the best on their day. This is not to overreact – it was a friendly. But it was a friendly everyone expected Rangers to lose, and to field nearly our strongest XI and show what we are capable of is a bit of a message.


The one downside was the defence losing its way a little once Alves came off. Indeed, replacement Wilson and captain Lee Wallace were left like statues for Marseille’s opener, something that just did not happen while the boss was on the field. Rangers must keep Bruno fit, he is the key.

Today was commendable. So much improvement, so much to be positive about and such a pleasing afternoon’s work. If Rangers can continue to develop like this, and go to Hillsborough and give a good account of themselves, even in defeat, the signs are there that the manager and squad are at long last on the right track.

And we could not be more pleased.


  1. I and many others were waiting on I.N.response to today's friendly.
    Very constructed and positive response too and I for one commend you.
    One swallow does not make a summer but it is a good sign.
    It's so easy to be positive after a good performance against a top quality side but let's be level headed and look at the bigger picture which is we have virtually a brand new team that will take time to gell and if we are bettered prepared and gelled by Aug 6th regardless of upcoming friendly results I will be a happy Bear.

  2. A step in the right direction. A moral victory so to speak. One game a summer it does not make but our new centre half pairing and the same in midfield this will be the hub of the team. The one negative is again, strikers still not scoring, with a set piece to save us once more. Hopefully with games it will all start to click and wingers and forwards will link and begin to get the goals. Would still like to see Herrera and Morelos together and see what they can do as a partnership.

  3. I watched the game today and was a bag of nerves before kick off, 5 mins in and I thought I was watching the wrong game, who were this rangers team that had turned up today and where have they been?

    Today was the first genuine sign that the gossip we have herd about the dressing room being lost and Pedro being laughed at is a lot of bull.

    Communication from back to front, everyone working for each other, full on tackles something that's been missing for a while and above all else they looked like they wanted to win and it was only a friendly.

    The arrival of Alves was evident on the park today also, the defense looked solid for the first time in years and also played out from the back without the panic that was there under Warburton.

    I know one game doesn't change anything but if we turn up against the spl teams like we did today then fear will not be a word in my vocabulary this season.


  4. We need to sign walker and moult asap. We are not scoring enough goals and these two are goal scorers.

  5. Much better. At least we could see a shape to the team and an understanding of what they were doing. May sound strange but it may have been easier to play them today than it will be with most teams at Ibrox who'll have 10 men behind the ball.Look a far more physical side too.Big Brunos presence had a calming effect as well. Early days but better.

  6. I've have been in the same camp as ibrox noise but ill gladly say what a difference in the team to go so fingers crossed this could be the start of something good not quite 100% win over yet but we outplayed them first 60 minutes and in there last pre season game .

  7. I missed todays game so I was anxious to read what the response would be from Ibroix Noise and after the scathing previous assesments of the team and manager I am delighted to read a more than positive review of the game. I am not saying we cannot criticise the team but lets keep it fair and not over the top hysterics.

  8. Unfortunately I could only follow on text for a short while so thank you I B N for the analysis. As always I want to be positive and I look forward to S W next Sunday. Hope we are on a roll. Watt.

  9. A lot better gers,I agree with previous commenter Gerry secure the deals for Walkr and Moult then I believe we will have a big shout about winning the league .A wee bit worried if Alva's gets injured in a long season will the others be up for it or even have the skill for it .But still I'm a lot more happier with what went on today .

  10. By all accounts an excellent display today and a good result at the end of the day. i would like to see Walker signed as amateur of urgency and I would like to see Miller consigned to the bench. For me we still need to improve the squad. We need adequate backup for the back four. We saw today when Alves went off that our defence reverted to norm, (although Tavernier, if he plays like that every week will be a top player in the SPL). Wallace needs to regain his confidence and playing alongside Alves should do that but we have no real quality backup for these players. Looking at the bench today we are also light in midfield, especially if Rossiter is back on the injury list again.

  11. Thoroughly enjoyed the game, which is something I haven't said for a while. A proper shape, proper discipline. Tavernier was a different player. I still would like to see Miller dropped from the starting lineup- he added nothing today with his wanderings.
    Anyway, didn't see much of Pena but Candeias can cross and if we had Walker on the left instead of Wallace, we'd have double the ammo for Herrera.
    I've been critical of Pedro not having a plan, but today we kept to a defined plan and it made all the difference.

    Good signs.

  12. I only saw the highlights but good to hear that the team played well today. Even in the highlights could see we had a proper shape, looked more like a team, and moved as a unit/with purpose. Would love Walker and Moult come in, and I'd also drop Kenny Miller. I noticed last season that when the team was playing well (which wasn't too often), Miller would drift out of the game. But when we were awful, he seemed to do quite well (or maybe his energy/will was what looked good). Maybe a bad observation, but anyway.

  13. I must admit i have not been supportive of pedro, and was not looking forward to going to todays game, and i know it's only 90 minutes but it's the most positive ive come out of ibrox in a long time. I could see the formation of the team. Sharp decision making, quicker passing, closing down Some real good performances. Slowly but surely WATP

  14. Very much better than in previous games. Alves makes a huge difference to the defence, and some players, particularly Taverner, seemed to play better because of the influence of Alves. Maybe Wallace is more in need of replacing than Taverner–just a passing thought. We still need MUCH MORE CUTTING EDGE. Players like Walker, Moult and Naismith could provide it. Not quite there yet–but getting closer to where we need to be. Theses three players mentioned would all bring extra fight as well as skill to the team.

  15. I'd be hoping that mr warburton was watching today's game.
    He will have found out that wee barry is just a wee under-performer where as RFC now have a proper winger who may well go on to be remembered like all our other Great wingers…. HE, well… he can have barry.
    Watching this game today only enforced what I keep on stating all over internet, Judge our Pedro WHEN his own players are fit and playing for us, most were today bar a couple, looking GREAT for us.

  16. Good article and agree. It appeared to me either Marseille got a boost when Alves went off, or we fell asleep. A question was asked by one of our bears a while ago, What happens to our defence if Alves gets injured (god forbid, touch wood)? Wilson was woeful at their goal and please don't say he's been out injured, he has always been slow and weak. Therefore, I feel we need another solid centre half as cover. Bates should not be anywhere near the team, he just does not have it.
    I have been critical of Tav, but credit where its due, that was a good display by him, probably his best in the blue jersey.

    It obvious Alves is the main inspiration in our team, I hope and pray he keeps fit all season as we simply do not have the cover to replace him, and that is concerning.

  17. Alves has a max 20 games and he will go under the knife, just ask Ped, he knows as of course does Alves and his medics. * J