Shock selection on the cards for the Old Firm


The odd thing about Bruno Alves’ injury is while no one ever wants to see an injury to a player on their team, the Portuguese’s performance had hardly merited his inclusion in the ‘indispensible’ column – not unlike previous matches he had been off the pace, outmuscled by an opposition striker, and seemed lacksidasical.

So when we saw him taken off, it was not with the fear I expected. The only puzzle is why senior defender Danny Wilson was not used as his replacement.

Two minutes into Ross McCrorie’s appearance and we could see why the 19-year old had been selected to replace the team captain.

Pedro Caixinha has said something utterly irresponsible this morning:

“Ross McCrorie is going to be one of the best centre-halves in history, not just for this club but for this country.”

Appalling comment and ridiculous pressure to put on the young man – but that said, on the merits of the display he put in, it makes a joke of those who reckon David Bates is good enough, or that Alves needs more time.

Once the 19-year old was on, he read everything – the lad soaked up all aerial pressure, complimented Fabio Cardoso perfectly, and put in plenty timely blocks.

Conor Sammon frankly owned both Cardoso and Alves. The Irish hitman had a field day – once McCrorie was on he disappeared completely and the game changed.

The addition of Jason Holt helped too – Carlos Pena’s laziness and inability to press opponents allowed far more through the middle than was healthy, something which Holt’s mobility and running shored up nearly instantly too, but McCrorie made the defence watertight and for the first time this season an opposition side was rendered impotent.

You might say ‘it was only Partick’. Yeah, Partick that our defence had struggled against until McCrorie showed up.

Pitch him in against Celtic? Why the hell not? He and Cardoso seem to be our best defenders – and if we do play four at the back I trust him already more than I do Alves.

If we go a three I would add Danny Wilson for his experience, albeit with Alves’ injury it may be a moot point anyway.

But the truth is Ross McCrorie really was a bright spot last night – a defender who could defend and who made the entire backline robust.

I am not turning on Alves, but for me, he needs to earn his place back – and right now going by McCrorie’s cameo, he is the one who needs to be dislodged.


  1. It's a case of differing expectations. Alves is expected to utterly dominate and hardly break a sweat whilst McCrorie is coming up from the youths and doesn't have that pressure on him, although he turned in a good performance.

    I'd still prefer a fit Alves. Experienced, older players can come unstuck on old firm day and I would hate for McCrorie's confidence to be damaged because he was pitched in too early. Having said that, if he is selected and has a cracking game then we know he will be able to handle mostly anything that comes after.

    Another interesting question is whethwhether Pena or Miller should support Morelos…….

    • Good question. I'd plump for Miller just for his experience and workrate. Plus he is "lucky" for us in these games in that he normally scores.

      Pena could be used after an hour if we need fresh legs or to add creativity.

  2. watched the game and have to say,the young lad was great,last night against Partick.
    but we have to remember,he is still short of first-team football and i dont think playing him against the Mhanky Mob should be done,at this time,young players especially,are sometimes very good but can also be very bad.For his future,we should play him against weaker teams until his experience grows.

  3. This criticism of Alves is,frankly, getting ridiculous. As are the earlier comments I have seen that contend that Cardoso has been more effective than Ayes!!! Really? we are clearly watching different games. When, he has time on his side – a luxury in the hurly burly of the Premier League, he looks classy and composed. However, against aggressive opponents he is easily flustered and commits too many needless fouls – a number of which have led to goals. Also remember this, Alves is a naturally right footed player and is being played on the left side of central defence to accommodate the one-footed Cardoso. Personally, I would like to see how Alves gets on (on the right side) with the left footed McCrorie, on the left. For one thing, the central defence would be more balanced.
    As it stands, I think the reason that Alves (even with all his experience) does not provide as much cover/support to the left back position is that it's on his weaker side. Anyway, lets see what happens. For the Celtic match, I would be inclined to go for a 3, 1, 4, 2 setup – with the three being Cardoso, Alves and McCrorie – Jack as the defending midfielder. The four more forward midfield players would be Tavenier, Holt (an alsolute MUST!), Dorrans and Windass (possibly John). Up front I would go for Candeias supporting Morelos. There is a case for saying Pena could do the supporting role but he would be completely bypassed by the Celtic mob. Moving Candeias from the right wing may be risking but he needs to play and his link up play with Morelos is improving all the time.

    • You are either kidding-on or you are no Gers fan ?

      Windass is crap
      McCrorie is a wee boy of 19
      Alves plays Left CB for Portugal
      Holt is poor
      Candeias is a Right sided mid /winger.

      Your points are all hollow.

  4. It takes time to blend a team, my worry is not big Bruno its the same old space behind the full backs. Might be a good idea to play with a conventional back four against the Mick's maybe with mccrory at right back and hodson sitting in on the left. This would give your center half's a chance to deal with what's in front of them and might even stop some unchallenged crosse's going into our box. Why not do a Walter, play a more narrow 4 in the middle probably candeias and dorrans flanking Holt and jack. The idea is to double up on the wide men, try and crowd the midfielder, plat on the break for the first hour

    • So now we have a young 19 year old CB to play RB ???
      Hodson is a crap RB let alone a LB

      Never mind a four in midfield, it's a Five that we will need.

    • I agree with all that you say Robert.
      This Windass is a terrible player, an empty jersey, a dud.
      I hope Pedro (who I do rate) doesn't go losing his job for being stupid over this non-entity of a so-called footballer.

      If and there IS a good chance of it….. IF Pedro starts with Miller and Windass, his tea may well be out come 5pm on Saturday, as this would be two empty jerseys against this smelly-lot.

    • Pedro should Already see for himself what we all do, Windass is rubbish and Miller is WELL PAST his sell-by date, well past it.
      So much so that Miller shouldn't EVER get another game for us unless everyone else cannot play.

  5. Not for me ibrox noise!Ross mccrorie undoubtedly looks a very good centre half and should be the mainstay of our team for hopefully many years to come!But and here's the 'BUT',if bruno alves is fit to play against them on saturday,then for me,quite simply he plays!We can't go around taking gambles if we don't need to!Mccrorie's time will come but big alves is a very good,experienced centre half and the best defender we have at ibrox!On to the enigma we call josh windass!What does this guy actually contribute to rangers??Would someone please enlighten me,because as far as i can see he brings very little to the team!Windass hides constantly in games and his work rate at times is shocking!Its no good having a guy as a complete passenger like he is and especially so against celtic on saturday!He's lucky if he gives you 15 minutes of a game which is no good to glasgow rangers!He without question lacks confidence and his attempted finish last night,would support this theory enormously!IMHO we shouldn't be starting windass against them on saturday!The guy is an empty jersey most of the time!Would honestly rather play wee jason holt than him!!

    • big bruno must play saturday .totally agree robert millar about windass offload him a,s,a,p offers nothing .thought we were a diffrent team extra time against thistle holt hodson done well would use these two against smellies .pedros fault he does not know his strongest team because he kept playing miller, widass ,e,t,c .its time for wee pedro to shine show us what he got .w,a,t,p

  6. Young McCrorie did well when he came on and did exactly what the article said, he lessened the impact Sammon as a threat, but you seem to forget that it was Sammons head flick in the 90th minute that let Dolan score.
    McCrorie still had a very good debut and looks a prospect. With him, Bates and Aidan Wilson all looking bright prospects for the future, let us hope we can find some way of integrating these young guys this season, although in their pivotal role is one of the most difficult positions to try players out.
    As for Saturday, I would prefer to go 3 at the back, with two wing backs in a five man midfield, with a lone striker and a very mobile number 10 playing just behind the striker. We have to stop their full backs overlapping and also snuff out their midfield using Dorian's and Jack to take turns on nipping at Psycho Brown.
    So I have to say, if I had the choice and team selection, if fit would have Cardozo, Alves & Danny Wilson as a back three. Midfield I would have Tavernier, Dorrans, Jack, Holt, (John, Hodson, Beerman). Supporting Herrera up front, I would play Moreles. My reason for this is an out ball can damage the Mhankys at the back with Moreles freed up to roam about drawing players away leaving gaps for midfield players to get forward. Options available are replacements from the bench in Candieas, Pena, Windass and a definite appearance at some stage by Kenny Miller.
    Again this is my opinion, others may think differently but all we all want is a positive result for Rangers.

    • We'll NEED five in our midfield for sure against the mhankies.
      Candeias is a smashing player both in attack and at covering for Tav when Tav gets caught too far upfield, Cadeias NEEDs to play, one of the better Players we have.
      they two swines, the CB's of the filth will try to injure Morelos from the off, IF Morelos was to start so for me, I'd be benching Morelos and start with what looks like a mega lean mean hungry player , Herrera, who is also our best bet as a solo up top so as to be able to hold and bring in others for haunders ?
      Miller , Morelos, Pena—– for me, subs.
      What ye think ?

  7. Can't seriously want Candieas dropped to the bench!! Him along with Morelos have been our best players so far. Step away from the Sherry bottle now!

    • I said it was my opinion to hopefully get a result on Saturday. I don't disagree with you at all, can we jiggle the team selection around to include Candieas?
      You revert to insults against a fellow Rangers supporter only making a suggestion, why not make your criticism constructive and maybe respectful, instead of treating me like a moron or like I was being anti- Rangers!

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