“Best in Scotland?” – 10 things we learned about Rangers v Celtic


The dust has settled a little from the ‘most important Old Firm match ever’ so let’s have a look at what we learned from this latest encounter between the pair and what light it shed, if any, on Rangers.

1: Alfredo Morelos struggles mentally, like Kris Boyd did, against Celtic. The Colombian striker tries so hard to score, but that’s now three big Old Firm matches he’s registered a blank in, despite some huge chances. He has scored against Hibs and Aberdeen, so he doesn’t completely draw a blank against the better teams, but his record v Celtic is pretty horrific. He works hard deeper, and takes up good positions, assisting his team mates extremely well, but when it comes to finding the back of the net v the east enders, he really has a mental block. We have never been as fond of Morelos as we have of Jason Cummings, quite honestly, but we are also unsure the ex-HJK man deserves the torrent of abuse he’s getting for his miss.

2: Bruno Alves is the best defender in Scotland, but has rarely shown it. Today he did. While not vintage Alves, it was a whole hell of a lot better than anything Russell Martin has shown and simply put, any aerial ball he went for, he got. Much better from the Portuguese with a point to prove.

3: Other than Alves, Rangers’ defensive options border on disgusting. David Bates is not overly convincing (albeit we hope for a speedy recovery) and the remaining options are essentially Russell Martin and Fabio Cardoso. While the central defence actually could not be blamed for all three goals (albeit Cardoso was completely done by Dembele for the equaliser) they are evidently an area Rangers are deeply troubled in. Not good enough, it’s that simple.

4: Jamie Murphy thrived at his first Old Firm match – the Brighton loanee didn’t looked phased at all and showed what a miss he would have been without recovery. The guy has been a revelation and is evidently every inch a Rangers player. We cannot fathom why he has no caps for Scotland. McLeish, fix it!

5: Graeme Murty again struggled to change things and to adapt. We have noticed a recurring theme – when the match goes well, it goes VERY well. When it doesn’t, but for an individual moment of excellence, Murty struggles to change things and read the match. Once again his solution to trouble was ‘bring on Cummings’ and go 4-3-3/4-4-2. It’s a predictable alteration and having a plan B is only any use if the opponent can’t see it coming.

6: On that note, we couldn’t understand why Murty wasn’t sealing up the left channel. Ntcham was raking balls wide for Forrest in that first half with gay abandon and Declan John was constantly AWOL. Is it naïveté? We’re not sure.

7: Rangers’ bench is absolutely horrendous presently. We are possibly being unfair on Murty with criticism of his changes – after all, the only bench player worth a damn was Cummings. Who else do Rangers bring on? Kenny Miller cannot be the saviour every time.

8: Niko Kranjcar and Michael O’Halloran are surely finished. Neither was involved today, despite the dreadful bench options deployed instead, and that says everything for the regard Murty holds them in.

9: The fact Rangers were able to meet Celtic toe-to-toe for the majority of the first half bodes promisingly. The ground work is fledgling but it’s there. The squad seems to be moving in the right direction overall and for big spells of today’s match it actually felt like a proper Old Firm Rangers.

10: Windass is another one who struggles with the big occasions. He scored a brilliant goal and we applaud that, but otherwise was found wanting and produced very little of note.

There are probably tonnes more – what ones do you lot have?


  1. Can't agree with your assessment of Alves. For the second goal Brown was in the right back position under pressure from Candeias. The ONLY thing he could possibly do was lump the ball forward. At that stage Alves should have dropped off sweeping behind Cardoso who was marking Dembele but instead was caught 5 yards in front. That was criminal for such an experienced defender.
    At the same time why did Foderingham come off his line and present Dembele with perhaps his only option to lift it over him.

  2. Midfield isn't strong enough for this formation. We need to change it, we are only playing this formation to accommodate windass. We need mcrorie and Dorrans back.

  3. Tactically I can't fault Murty. It would've bern pointless playing 2 up against a back three. Instead we got players wide and tried to spread their back three to create gaps. To an extent we did that but unfortunately our final ball was poor. But we are on our way!!!

  4. Murty has changed us from also rans to contenders we need to remember were we were very unlucky 2day game could have went either way give the guy both time and our support and 56 will come sooner rather than later

  5. Murty has done a great job so lets keep the head! If I was to critics him I would say he's to loyal to Morelos and Windass ( great goal…but where was he after that…on Twitter!? ). He now need to show management ability and drop Morelos next week. Cummings had 3 chances last week and scored 3. Morelos had about 5 in the same game and missed the lot!!

    Again today Morelos has easy chances to harm them and prove his managers faith in him but he missed…again, and again. Time to sit out a few Morelos.

    • Have to agree – Graeme has managed the last 2 OF games, our best performances against them for quite some time. If Morelos had used his left foot instead of his right when that chance came along, we'd have got a draw, and that would have been a fair result. But a hell a lot better than the poundings we suffered last year. Defence and midfield is where we LOST the game, could not cope with Brown, Rogic and Ntcham, and few options worth a damn on the bench. Great opportunity lost to put pressure on them, but winning league was still a lot to expect, even if we'd won. We'll give them a good run for their money in the cup tho.

    • Robbie he works hard but is main responsibility is to put in the net…he cost us again in an OF. He is off form and Murty needs to drop him now.

      Wouldn't say he was our best player either. He spends way to much energy fighting with players physically when if he concentrated on the ball he could maybe be more effective.

  6. Alves good game,what game were you watching,he left cardoso one one for dembele goal who was Alves marking,answer he was in no man's land.

  7. Foderingham isn't good enough. He should have got a hand to Rogic shot which was a good height and just off centre. He also shouldn't have come off his line to give Dembele an easy decision to make. We need to buy Tim Krul in the summer…

    The game passed Sean Goss by. He looks amazing when he has space and time against lower league teams but doesn't have the ability when the game is quicker or he faces a strong press.

    We still need a Target Man option. Someone like Louis Moult would have been a great option to bring on when they went down to 10 men.

    In the summer, we need GK, 2 x CB, 2x CM, 1x RM, 2x ST

  8. I have a question which might make a good article. Maybe I’m wrong, but why don’t Celtic win with dignity? I don’t every remember Rangers players acting like they do after an Old Firm win, I’m sure our players used to agknowledge fans and that’s it. Celtic players dance around like idiots and lap it up. Maybe I’m wrong, like I say.

    I’m just looking forward to the day we rule once again. That time is coming, so maybe they’re enjoying it while they can.

    • Good point Joe. Look at the fury it caused when Rangers players went into a huddle at Celtic Park. Griffiths was up to his antics again in the stand waving a flag and wrapping a scarf around the railings, while Celtic players jumped up and down for an eternity playing to the gallery.
      We really need to address as an immediate priority before next season the amount of tickets and space Celtic fans get at Ibrox. It far out weighs the presence Rangers fans are allocated at Celtic Park. It gives them an advantage that we simply do not have reciprocated when we go there. Sort it out Mr King!

    • Agree Dexter. And while we are at it let's get them out of camera shot like many clubs do. Why invite them to our ground then give a platform.

  9. Have to agree its too harsh to criticise Murty too much after all since he took over he gave us the optimism we had today producing some good results leading up to this game. Its plain to see players such as Windass and Goss are great against smaller teams but are not yet ready to take up a level. Today there was absolutely no energy in the midfield, no chasing down and a real lack of running. Morelos even prior to his misses looked tired and leg weary which is not good enough. However there is plenty of positive signs in that we are not too far off making a real challenge with a number of new additions particularly in defence.

  10. Cardozo is mince.

    Wez isn’t rangers class.

    Windlass was dangerous at times and we need that.

  11. Morelos doesn't just struggle against Celtic. Given all the time to convert easy chances he literally freezes. Look at his last few games, he dithers when Cummings would have rasped the back of the net. His brain and left foot have a delayed action. The boy does have delayed reflex issues. Very expensive ones.

  12. we missed mcrorie type player in front of defence goss overated cant believe holt doesnt start before goss ,how many more times can we take a kick in the nuts ,shambles today

  13. We are still miles off, we could and should have won today, the truth is we have too many also ran players, some good or great in their time but past it now. Difficult to pick out any of the players, good or bad as all gave 100%, but we got a bit of luck from our first and then played most of the second half against 10 and a the full match against a team with third choice keeper, we are kidding our self if we think we are close, the odd one off perhaps but to challenge for the league, dreaming at present.

  14. 1. This Rangers team is still soft mentally. We are not a team of winners, and we don’t have any real leaders in the team that can take the game by the scruff of the neck. Dare I say it a Scott Brown!
    2. Murty is a rookie manager learning on the job and as a consequence there will be times when he is tactically out thought, and lacks the experience to change things as the match develops. Also suspect he is still Murty to many of the players. I wonder if the players would have dared to lose it like that’s in the second half with a manager the stature of a Walter Smith in charge. I think Murty now has to win the Scottish Cup to keep the job.
    3. Letting Wilson go in January may now come back to bite us. Cardoso is a disaster and must go in the summer – but Martin and Alves together in the semi will lack the pace needed at the back to cope with Celtic in the semi.
    4. Windass has to turn up for 90 minutes. After his goal he largely disappeared until his shot on 88 mins which Bain parries out to Morelos – and we all know what happened next! When Celtic went down to 10 men though they closed the space on the wings but the gap then was just in front of Celtic’s back line but Windass was nowhere to be seen.
    5. We saw today why Goss perhaps doesn’t get a game for QPR in the competitive Championship. Weak in the tackle and ineffective when denied time and space. Maybe Holloway will get him back with our blessing.
    6. Morelos ran the Celtic defense ragged in the first half – but he is raw – too many missed sitters in the big matches and especially against Celtic has cost us dear. If we can get 10 million in the summer we must take it and invest the money in 2/3 players of quality.
    7. O’Halloran must be showing a really poor attitude in training if he can’t get on the bench ahead of Herrera. Time up for the player I feel.
    8. We need Alves power in the air at the back but it will be his first and last season at Ibrox. We need to recruit a dominant stopper in the summer and THE priority.
    9. We need investment. If King isn’t going to dip into the inheritance and come up with 20/30 million then he has to go and find those who will. We are improving but Celtic have 30 million from Europe to invest in the summer and can shop at a decent level in Europe while we are picking up soft loans from the Championship – and that’s the gap!
    10. We need a better goalkeeper. Fod is a good shot stopper – but he struggles with cross balls and doesn’t dominate his area.

  15. For me all the players we have are only runners up our players are the nearly did it team,look at the facts we got a gift of a start for our first goal the same player gave us another gift later on we missed that and the player who missed that chance missed a very easy chance and he made a fool of himself from six feet out,they went in to this game under par and we where playing to our very best and we looked good week in week out we fear no team and i thought we where going beat them but facts are they beat us with two real crap defenders and then held out with ten men that says it all,if they get two new CH sorted then what,i for one would open the door now and send the loans back home sort out what players we are going keep and add new faces before next season starts,the group of players we have now can not beat them they come to our place and look like the home team even with there shit defenders come on we do need change.

  16. Disagree with your article, sorry.
    Second Celtic goal was pub league defending from the two centre halfs, hopeful punt down the middle. Alves is slow but was also way out of position and wrong side as was Cardoso. Those two are not the answer in centre defence.
    Only half that team can cope and compete with the pace and physical aggression of Celtic they are Tavernier, John, Docherty, Candeias and yes Morelos. He had a good game despite the sitter held it up well went past defenders. On another day he would take his chances, but the raw attributes needed against them is there for anyone to see.
    Murphy I thought was a larely peripheral figure and he doesn't have the pace against Celtic to hurt them once he beats the first man. We need to sign a few more Dochertys he didn't have an outstanding game but he has the energy, desire, box to box, pace and physicality to match up with them. We also need Ross McCrory back at CH & fit asap.

  17. murty has got to take blame for defeat we should have hammered them ,goss was at fault for two goals lazy hasnt got it .how many goals would cummings score yesterday .on to next manager

  18. celtic know they were lucky but the pain continues a bit longer.has cummings scored against smeltic for hibs?
    bring on the cup game!

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