While an earlier entry today discussed the potential of Michael O’Halloran replacing the potentially absent Jamie Murphy for next weekend’s Colossal Clash with Celtic, a suggestion on the site got us thinking about an even simpler solution.
Josh Windass has been in stunning form. The 24-year old has completely, utterly and entirely won us over unanimously here at Ibrox Noise (well, with the occasional exception) and for us is a star performer who simply keeps on delivering match after match. His finish last night was as good as Greg Docherty’s masterful assist.
However, with Murphy possibly missing for the visit of Rodgers’ men, Graeme Murty has a decision to make:
Does he dramatically alter the formation and personnel to deal with the not insignificant threat of Celtic, or does he keep things as they are and make minimal alterations to the team?
More and more we are thinking towards the latter, and it seems to us switching from the 4-2-3-1 is a non-starter. While it needed a little fine tuning some months ago, it really has become a well-oiled machine, and management would be extremely reluctant to part with it.
As such, while Lee Wallace or Andy Halliday for the potentially injured Declan John at left back takes care of itself, the front three faces more of a puzzle.
If Murphy does not make the match, as is looking very likely, Murty can either employ O’Halloran in his place as a direct substitute, or go for something even more interesting and potentially more potent too.
Scott O’Shaughnessay proposed a simple switch left for Windass to the flank and an introduction to the fire and brimstone of the Old Firm for Jason Cummings in behind Morelos.
On the surface it seems a pretty convenient and potentially crowd-pleasing solution, and we do like it, but it presents two issues:
Windass’ form has simply soared in behind Morelos. His goalscoring exploits plus assists have been utterly remarkable and it is not a misnomer to argue he is one of the most in-form and effective players in the SPL. However, he clearly struggled on the left wing and that spell was why neither Mark Warburton, Pedro Caixinha or initially Graeme Murty was able to get the best out of him. So putting him there again is a touch risky.
Furthermore, Cummings in the middle is not the ex-Hibs player’s ideal slot either – he is a willing worker, but he is not known for his creativity, and asking him to do so may be a little out his comfort zone.
One solution is to have both Cummings and Windass in a pseudo ‘free role’ – both interchanging with each other to cover on the left while they take turns through the middle. This would even facilitate a crude 4-4-2 on occasion with Cummings partnering Morelos in attack during forward flurries.
Injuries and suspensions really do throw spanners in the works. It is up to Graeme Murty and Jimmy Nicholl to work out a strategy that gets the most out of what players are available, and the best formation for them.
But, frankly, we would rather Jamie Murphy makes it!