Mr Brown’s Ball


A lot has been made of Scott Brown’s ball since the Old Firm for Celtic’s second goal. A lot of analysis has especially attacked Rangers’ rearguard for being caught in such a crude manner (including by Murty), blaming Bruno Alves for being in no man’s land while Cardoso’s attempts to block Dembele off were weak at best.

A lot of this is indeed true – Alves was nowhere while Cardoso’s endeavour did not do much to stop the incoming invaders.

And yet, there is something a lot of onlookers seem to have ignored a tad – and it was just how good a ball it was from how deep a position it was, while Declan John completely neglected his duties as well.

Let’s take a look via frame by frame:

As you can see Brown is deep in his own half when he delivers what really should be a speculative long pass from the Celtic defence. But it turns out, it was much better than a speculative long pass. He knows who he is aiming at.

As we can see here, Alves and Cardoso are extremely close to each other – any experienced defender will tell you the key to a good duo is to keep within around 10 yards of each other. So they got that right. But the ball from deep is pinpoint – it evades Alves entirely and Cardoso is left exposed with Declan John out of position as always, even when not on the attack. He is even facing inwards rather than already chasing back like Tavernier on the other side. In short, he is not reading the game at all.

Then we see in the final shot, Cardoso’s defending is little more than having let Dembele get goal side and trying to grab his jersey, while Wes Foderingham needlessly comes off his goal line to make the finish an easy one for the French striker.

What is being overlooked is just how good a ball from way back this actually is – while fans are blaming the defending and goalkeeping, and we admit it failed miserably, Brown’s accuracy here is also exceptional.

What we are saying is sometimes you concede good goals. And cannot always blame your backline entirely for it. But there is no question Alves, John and Cardoso were culpible – but at least Cardoso tried. This case was a great ball, dreadfully dealt with.


  1. Ordinarily I would like many other Rangers jump down the throat of the author on this Ibrox related form, but I said all three goals scored against us were sublime goals. I wish we scored more like those.
    There were imperfections in all three goals scored and with effective, professional defending were preventable but like the article states we sometimes have to take the hit, learn lessons and do better next time.
    Sunday’s performance at times was very good, we proved we can defend well, we were under severe pressure in the last 20 minutes from corners and unable to get out out own half, yet lose the goal the article highlights.
    We live in football a ‘blame culture’ and always look for scapegoats. We are almost back to full recovery from where we’re dumped ungraciously into the 4th tier of our domestic league. I am happier here than where we were, so I hated losing in the manner we did on Sunday but let’s begin to look ahead with some optimism in that we can do better and achieve second place comfortably in this campaign and with luck on our side or a competent Rangers side winning the semi final of the Scottish cup and go on to win it, no time like we did previously.

    • Very well said. And remember the shambles at start of season. And no Jack or Dorrans or Wallace. We need settled centre backs. Bates was injured early on and Cardosa has not played for months. Celtic have paid a fortune to have people sit on bench. We don’t have that kind of money yet. Aloes was a bad buy at his age. Remember he didn’t play in Luxembourg. The price we paid for him we needed him then. Martin is a useful stopgap. But next season we need two reliable centre backs. But our strategy is right at moment with loans. I think everyone agrees we keep Murphy. Probably Cummings too. So 2nd place , a cup win , and a good transfer window and next season will see us more competitive. And the Manager? I am still not certain.

  2. Agree good ball but speculative poor defending …keeper shit as usual at commanding his box and surrounding area good shot stopper but ?????…We are better Agree so lets enjoy that fact …Bring on the Semi…..

  3. I don’t what John could have done? It was a ball straight down the middle of our two centre backs and yes fod came and then stopped, he should have fully committed or stayed on his line, personally at the time I thought it was fod who was most at fault, he may have well have been standing on the side line than where he was

    • Foderingham was caught in no mans land as they say. I’d have young McCrorie pushing him for the jersey next season after his loan spell. That said it was a clever finish all the same. We aren’t a million miles of them and Rodgers reaction at the end was total relief.. A couple of good CB’s in the summer is a must plus LB & RB.. Be interesting to see who Allen & Bomber can find for those positions

  4. Yae fkn kidding, the we reprebate flung last ditch tackle , which turned intae bein a worldy, fkn um, see um in semi….honestly ,what would you want????

  5. I think it's fair to say that our central defense is a worry for the future. Lee Wallace played as left centre back would be a safe bet. Paired up with Martin or another experienced centre back would offer us better stability in my opinion. John and Tav are doing a decent job at full back so a settled central defense should be priority ��

  6. I couldn't disagree with this article more and made my feelings known at the time. When Brown was in the right back position under pressure from Candeias there was only one thing he could do and that was to lump it up the park. You argue that he managed to do so with a degree of accuracy and I don't deny that. However, Cardoso and Alves are experienced professionals and should have read the situation much better. Then Cardoso would've been goalside or been in a position to head the ball away. If he missed then Alves should've been sweeping behind Cardoso and cleared the ball easily. Would you then argue that Brown hit a superb 70 yard pass or simply cleared his lines?

  7. I remember the good old days,,and call me old fashion folks,,, I recall in my youth, even school days football,,, to step out before the pass is made, making the striker in an offside position. As a centre half many moons ago, I played the offside rule like an art form. It worked 95% of the time, other 5% due to piss poor blind refereeing! But to be fair, we did not have linesmen.
    Now, this is where our defence infuriates me. One step out and Dumbele is offside, simple school boy football that our defence are incapable to do! We play far too deep in our own half!
    Also, I cannot believe Goss is dodging the flack for his part of piss poor inability to tackle for the other 2 goals scored against us?!!
    Our team is still at the same level of all the other teams except shellic.
    Murty has no other level to go up, therefore needs to go at the end of the season or face further humiliation against the east end. What I watched on Sunday was the same tippity tappity pish that Warbuton used to produce as well as poor defending!!

    • Yes you could play the offside game which is risky especially when Dembele has more pace. As was proven. Why take the risk? You've got 2 defenders against 1. So defend. One picks up, one drops off. I understood that basic defending when I was 12.

  8. Robrob, In what your saying, you could never catch or defend against a player who can out pace you, if you are shoulder to shoulder running toward goal! Therefore smart defending should come out in play. Dembele could be superman, the road runner, speedy gonzales, but if our two defenders step out a foot in front of him,,, he's offside! This simple tactic is easily mastered in training, it's obviously not as we get caught week in week out because our defenders are playing far too deep.
    We just don't have the quality centre halves at the moment. I'd get rid of Alves, Cardoso and Bates after the season is finished. They are simply not Rangers class!

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