Saturday, 16 September 2017

Failure at Firhill; Pedro's problem


No denying Kilmarnock, Motherwell, Hibs and Dundee did Rangers a huge favour today. After the side dropped another two points in a dreadful display last night, various other outfits’ results in Scotland’s top flight this afternoon helped the Ibrox men out and not only stopped us falling down the table, but in fact strengthened our position thanks to the point ‘gained’.

But it does not alter the disappointment of struggling to even clinch a point at Firhill against 10 men – taking a stunning effort from Graham Dorrans to secure even that.

Six matches into the SPL campaign and while Rangers are two points better off than they were this time last season, we cannot help feeling the season is going in much the same direction.

There is that nagging feeling that despite the favourable formation and the apparently improved personnel, Rangers are in exactly the same spot they were 12 months ago.

For every sense of modest progress, like two wins on the trot (against admittedly poor opposition), there follows a crucifying setback such as last night. For every ounce of joy we get from yet another fine goal from the on-fire Alfredo Morelos, there is the despair as another shambolic concession is made by our defence.

This is not to call Pedro Caixinha a failure and the squad inept – albeit we admit we have been castigating of the Portuguese in the past; the brutal truth is the whole thing from board, to management, to player simply feels very ‘meh’.

It is not consistent, it is not impressive, and while it shows signs of life now and then, inevitably it stutters horribly again thereafter and fans find themselves suffering yet again.

The overriding comments the site articles have received this weekend have been ‘thanks for another awful weekend Rangers’. After the slight hope gained from beating County and Dundee, it all comes thumping back down to earth when we cannot even put away Partick Thistle, the bottom team.

Whether those two results papered over cracks we cannot know for sure; there are certainly some positives, from Morelos’ scintillating form, to Candeias’ impressive shows and attitude out there, to Tavernier’s distinctly improved form this season while the two central Scots Dorrans and Jack certainly huff and puff and try to keep Rangers in it.

But right now Rangers have 11 points from a possible 18 and while the old ‘give it time’ and ‘let it gel’ brigade are probably out in numbers, it all really feels like déjà-vu for yours truly.

New manager. New coaches. New staff. New players. Same old Rangers.

While we do not want to be glaringly negative in this article, and we do want to be as positive as we can, constructively, of course, the fact Rangers had to rely on outside results to cling onto third place tonight only six matches into the season really is a pretty damning place to be.

There is also the depressing stat that we have faced 11 shots on target this season and eight of them have been goals. Whether that points to a poor defence, or a poor goalkeeper, or exactly the opposite we are not quite sure (!)

What we know is this. As things stand Rangers are no further on from a year ago today. We may seem better on paper and have spent more hard cash – but the proof of the pudding is the results.

And they are pretty much as they were.

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