Thursday, 17 August 2017

Rangers v Hearts - the most important match of the season?


Many Bears reading the headline might be thinking ‘lunacy’ (this site has a reputation for madness) and that it is both too early to make such comments and not a fixture that qualifies for such importance.

I believe it is.

Rangers have had a stuttering start to the Premiership this season. An unconvincing win at Fir Park was compounded by a disappointing defeat at Ibrox to Hibs, leading many to question the team’s quality and the manager’s ability, not to mention a few refereeing decisions.

However, like it or not, Hibs are a good team and are one of only four sides with a 100% record at the top of the table – they are a strong contender for a top four or even better finish.

So while that defeat hurt, Rangers were down to 10 men and up against a side who took control of the match around the half hour mark.

But this Saturday sees the visit of a completely mediocre Hearts team without direction, and with a similar domestic record to our own – one win, one loss. They have no manager, nor one even in sight, and they are slap bang in the lower middle of the table in 8th place.

Of course things will normalise and they probably will not finish the season there, but last season they only managed three slots better in their final placing.

The point? Rangers host a truly midtable side this weekend, and such a halfway house of a team is the most glaring test of where Rangers really are.

Lose to Hearts, at home, in the state they are in, and it starts to look deeply ominous. Win convincingly and things feel like they might just be starting to settle a tad – because this is the standard of team Rangers must regularly beat to stand a chance of a top-placed finish.

Obviously we cannot truly judge anything in any sense of finality, the season is still young; so even if Hearts do take all three points it might not mean the end of the world.

But it might. Last season Rangers’ schedule began horrifically with a draw at home to Hamilton, and two deeply unconvincing wins against Dundee and Motherwell before being held by Killie. Then Celtic routed us. That pattern really did reflect the season that lay ahead.

So it is possible to make judgements based on early season form. Not every time, of course, but many fans are concerned this season so far echoes last in more ways than we want it to.

But a convincing win against a team like Hearts would go some way to allaying a few fears.

Two wins and a loss is just about manageable – two losses and an unconvincing win would be deeply troubling.

The former is possible. We must hope Pedro finds a way to make it happen.

22 comments:

  1. We fell into Lennon's trap on Saturday by getting dragged into a hate match.
    Even though we lost an avoidable goal, we should still have been strong enough to win the game easily. We certainly have the better players. We should have left Hibs to all their silliness and concentrated on seeing the match out.
    Lennon and Stokes went in with a game plan, and with a lot of luck, and a very poor referee, it worked perfectly. In short, the best team lost, because they weren't clever enough. If we react stupidly to every player or manager that hates us this year, it will be a very long season indeed.
    The group of players are only two or three short from being a decent squad. But the leaders among them need to explain how to easily avoid disasters like Saturday.
    Progres - embarrassing
    Friendlies - promising
    Motherwell - dissapointing
    Dunfermline - fantastic
    Hibs - naive
    Hearts - because of the above, we need to win

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    1. What game were you watching Saturday ??? Hibs played us off the park, we could've had 15 players on the park and got beat, we were utter garbage, Ped needs to depart ASAP, bad ref agreed agreed but Hibs could've scored 6, our defence was as bad when played Progress, everything needs to change in that dressing room

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    2. agree fully with your comments, very accurate summary.

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  2. Might be a negative question but a reasonable one to ask. Don't contemplate Rangers losing but if that happened then I think PC will go in the very near future. Whether that's immediately or given time up to old firm game on 23/9 but that form would be unacceptable to all. I tend to think that's the pressure he is working under anyway following euro fiasco.

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  3. "Two wins and a loss is just about manageable – two losses and an unconvincing win would be deeply troubling."
    This is a very valid point to make. I thinking before the red card on Saturday we looked just about 50/50 with a good Hibs side. That's better than last year. But still getting a 2-3 doing at home is unacceptable.

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  4. Player for player and pound for pound this Rangers squad should beat Hibs 90% of the time, (& draw the other 10%) simple as that!, they really are not anything special(Hibs) and probably a typical half decent Scottish top division outfit but to use them as any kind of guidance bar for ourselves is, in my opinion, negative, defeatist, unambitious, which are slanderous words that have never ever been associated with our proud club

    Hopefully we are not turning out to be like the enemy where we blame the ref, injuries, politics, and calmly and continually bullshit the punters that we will be better next week, not good enough, and I have to say that looks like this article was written by someone who expects and accepts a 3rd or forth place finish come next spring

    The elephant in the room is that our current squad is a hell of a lot closer to the enemy than any other SPL team and with a bit of tweaking here and there could match them on the park every time

    Of course the bit of tweaking involves another 2 or 3 additional players along with, and more importantly, getting rid of Mr Bean because a blind man wi a collie dug can see he has not got a scoobie and is a complete fraud.

    Makes me wonder which director interviewed him initially cause I recently took possession of London Bridge and am looking to sell it on!

    WE ARE GLASGOW RANGERS, WE ARE THE PEOPLE, REMEMBER THAT, cause second place always has and always will be equal to last place

    Onwards & upwards

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  5. Win lose or draw our season will be defined by how quickly we replace pedro. I hope im proved wrong but nothing i have seen since taking over gives belief he will turn us into genuine title challengers.

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  6. It is no exaggeration to suggest that if Rangers were to lose at home to Hearts on Saturday then Pedro could be gone. Out of Europe in July and essenially already out of League contention by August would be a damning indictment from which he would surely never recover. Simply with resources and a transfer budget to dwarf the likes of Hibs and Aberdeen it comes down as to whether Caixhina invested that money wisely with his emphasis on imports compared to other teams who have gone for the tried and tested such as Lafferty to Hearts etc. Would the money invested in Pena have been more wisely spent on Naismith for example. For me Rangers has the nucleus of a good team but Caixhina remains the problem. His response to going disown to 10 men last weekend was misguided and woeful. He is out of his depth. People will squeal that it is too early to judge - but consider this - last season Caixhina's win percentage at Rangers was his best ever as a manager. Pedro is no serial winner - despite his rhetoric. Rather he is the master of the bang average!

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  7. Agree with the article. We simply need to win this one or else it will be another nail in Pedros coffin. The final nail, imo, would be defeat in the first old firm.
    I have always said, inconsistency is our enemy and has been for years. We need an excellent run and our players need to play smart and wise and not rise to the typical Scottish football wind ups from the opposition.
    But yes, I agree defeat or even a draw against Tarts will not be good enough. Still not convinced with our defence. Need a couple of full backs and another centre half.

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  8. Over the top. Rebuilding is a long term project. There are many facets involved. Judgement on one game is foolish. Rangers were robbed on Saturday by incompetent refereeeing. Had they won you would not been writing this. Bringing in all new players and remodelling club does not happen overnight. I expect we will win but get behind Pedro. He needs our support.

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  9. No matter what happens in this game we will have to keep hold of Ped and his back room staff its going cost way to much to sack him and his staff we need to hold on to him and look for the new manager,but it all comes down to the players we have maybe some are not as good as we thought they where so let us sit back and watch who we need to get off the books.

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    1. What rubbish it costs too much to keep him. We should have been ready to have challenged for the title by now but experiments on managers like the loaf & now PC have set the club back 2 years.

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    2. I agree Robert, continuing to back a losing ticket and waste more resources on him, would be stupidity of the highest order. I know we're not exactly flush, but when you know your on a hiding to nothing, u have to act regardless. If that means ripping it up and starting again(sigh) SO BE IT. I'd rather take 2 steps back to take one forward in the long run. Sorry to say but I think that's nearly where we are at, I have no confidence in Pedro and no tolerance for all the nonsense he talks. He was the wrong choice 6 months ago and he's still the wrong man to lead the club.

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  10. After Celtics result last night im sorry to say but 2nd place always and will be as good as it gets.. miles ahead both on the park and in the bank

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  11. Agree with quite a lot of the posts today especially Barry M . The result last night shows exactly what the ramifications of wrongly sending us down to Div. 3 has had by those who thought they were putting us in our place, all they have done is ruin the competitive edge in the Scottish game... Bastards !!! . The rotten mob have no opposition and given that fact that they now have easy passage to the Champions league ( Pub Team last night ... Progress in disguise ) they have the resources to ensure we stay a distant 2nd for well, probably for good , it breaks my heart to say ...sorry but I see no light etc.. ALL the games are must win for Rangers if we are to show any kind of improvement , recovery call it what you will . There are signs that we are better , but we cannot defend like that or we will be punished.. as Murray showed us on Saturday ,,, Do you think Gough et al would have allowed that boy to run across the box as he did or Stokes to strut about our hallowed ground as he did, the piece of garbage !! I look forward to being proved wrong and I am hurting pretty bad .. but I will always be a Ranger WATP

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    1. Really - you can hardly tell!

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    2. @RabCBear...LoL!!

      Actually I think Rangers will win handily today.

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  12. OMG doom & gloom. Hide the fuking rope!!
    Saturday was just a bad day at the office and the the hole team will learn from that game big time.
    We will hump Hearts on Saturday and improve week by week.
    Stop with the negativity get behind the team and the manager cause he's going fuking nowhere period!!!

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  13. This isnt just about sat open your eyes & give me any examples past or present to suggest PC has the ability to build a team to challenge for honours. All we have is his record b4 & since he came to judge & iv seen nothing yet he has what it takes. I really hope im wrong cause we cant afford any more wasted time.

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  14. Win or lose, Saturday is just another bump in the road. The Euro qualifiers were surely more important than this Saturday, and matches against Celtic and Aberdeen (and likely Hibs) will have a greater importance in terms of where we finish the season.

    Lastly, let's not completely write off Hearts. They look lost and rudderless right now, but:
    (1) they were 2nd or 3rd last season before Cathro showed up and destroyed their season.
    (2) Hearts have a 100% record vs non-Celtic teams since Cathro was fired. That's only 1 match, so take with a pinch of salt. But the squad has enough talent to beat Rangers if the challenge isn't taken seriously.

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  15. At a club like ours the next game is always the most important of the season. Winning against Hearts would put the Hibs game down to poor refereeing and a blip so continuing the positive momentum

    However, I agree that signs are false positive and unless the two full back positions are addressed the defence is always going to ship goals. Too many crosses get into our box and to compound the problem we have a keeper who cannot deal with crosses...

    I had wondered if Rossiter or Holt could reinvent themselves as a more defensive minded full back. I havent seen enough of Rossiter to know if he is quick enough or not but Holt would be.

    Alternatively we could bring Jose Bosingwa in for a trial as he is without a club leaving Turkey. 35 year old so if the fitness is still there I'd give him a year deal.

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  16. The problem is we are hoping rather than expectng to have a good season now there's a prolem when u hope to finsh 2nd. if we don't beleive we can do #55 what message does that send to the players, we are rangers ffs we are only filln the tims with more arrogance. let the playes know we want 55 by singing it every week. bring back the SOUNESS arrogance and swagger.

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