Rangers v Shkupi – 10 things we learned…


So Steven Gerrard’s fledgling Rangers career got off to a winning start tonight under the Govan floodlights in the first round of Europa League Qualifying.

Ibrox Noise takes you through things we think we noticed. How many do you agree with?

1: Alfredo Morelos is getting worse. The petulance, profligacy, and attitude simply stinks and we are getting absolutely fed up of the sight of him. He’s the same player as last season if not worse. Unless the lad brings in goals and soon, we couldn’t ship him away to Turkey quick enough. Even then, there’s better out there who can anyway.

2: Josh Windass is either hot or not – when he’s hot he’s devastating, but tonight he wasted countless chances and created next to none himself. Wasteful, and weak.

3: It is incredibly early days and by Lord we hope we’re wrong but if Hibs destroy some Faroese mob 6-1 and Celtic gub a UCL side 3-0 away from home, but Rangers can’t even manage two goals without help from a bad refereeing decision aiding us, this team is even further away from challenging at the top of the SPL. Sorry guys.

4: We cannot understand why Gerrard brought on Ryan Jack as an attacking midfielder. Someone will need to explain this because we’re at a loss.

5: Ovie Ejaria looks a good prospect – should have had a penalty, and physically similar to Nathan Oduwa without the fancy theatrics, he could be one to watch this season.

6: Defence was poor – no other way to describe it – it wasn’t tested a huge amount but it struggled with what did come its way. Finding its feet we hope, but while Katic individually impressed, the pairing with Connor Goldson didn’t.

7: Flanagan had a strong match at LB – a real touch of quality and had a particularly good first half. Probably better than Declan John who may find Flanagan doing to him what he did to Lee Wallace.

8: Glenn Middleton was the best player for Rangers by a distance. He has already earned a starting slot – that’s three excellent shifts for the young man in a row and this time it truly counted. He’s ready.

9: Steven Gerrard cut a mostly frustrated figure – as if the players aren’t following his instructions or his instructions themselves are flawed. We can’t tell. All we know is this was barely any better than the Progres performance last pre-season and if Stevie was under any illusions of the gravity of the task, he isn’t now.

10: James Tavernier is about as much a captain I am an astronaut.

Much to ponder, chew on, and cogitate.


  1. I can’t help but feel that there was no improvement from last years disgrace against Progres. There is a LOT of work to do.

    As for Morelos? Get rid as quickly as possible. He is petulant and downright disinterested when things don’t go his way.

    • Agreed on Morelos mate.
      But in reply to your first point on No improvement on Progres?
      Whilst it is logical and reasonable to accept and expect there to be some progress over the unacceptable product of the last 3 seasons,
      1. Minimum the new guys need time to adapt.
      2. The full squad hasn't had time to gel, it will take time Time sadly we don't have over clubs who have settled sides
      3. We won tonight. Progres beat us

      Progress over Progres

    • frustrates the life out me. id sign brophy fae killie as he offers u more, really underated and wasted @ rugby park.

  2. Gave Morelos benefit of the doubt but after tonight, l hope he goes and SG phones the Turks to cart him away, same as Windass, first offer now for him as well bite the hand off and run and Tav tonight…. the usual headless chicken, never a captain, id rather it go to Murphy, a lot of work to do before Tuesday

    • Morelos and Windass Agreed.
      Tav supplied our best passes all night and worked tirelessly. Sorry can't rule him out, at.least until we have a better option and we get very good money because despite what some think, he would prove everyone wrong elsewhere.

  3. No point in getting rid of Morelos. We need a third striker as it is. Sell him and we need two in. Who, and at what price?
    I see McBurnie has just signed a new contract, so bang goes the idea of him coming, I am afraid to say.
    We need to keep working on Morelos, that's all there is to it. Unless we can sell him for enough to bring in a decent replacement, but I suspect strikers capable of scoring 16+ goals in Scotland aren't that easy to find. How much do you think it would cost to get Kamberi? I think more than £3 million.

    • punt morelos and bring in moult & curtis maine, am convinced they would be great assets. 2 for the price of 1

  4. Goldson?You must have been watching something else from me.
    That guy will bring in millions when he goes back south. Morelos? The boy has some kind of mental block or something,he never recovered from missing that header at the Piggery and is fukin rank.That mob need to score so we'll get through over there.
    Middleton has a big future. Done more in 15 minutes than Windass all game. I was watching Gerrard from my seat and he wasn't happy.
    First game and all that but a creative midfielder is needed badly too.

    • Agree 100% with every point you make.
      Middleton and What is like Goodson have very good futures ahead of them.

      Shame for Morelos but if we can pump quarter if the time on his improvement AWAY from the first team, he could come back strong and more disciplined.
      Talking of which, Ryan Jack worries me every time he approaches an opponent.
      No discipline and how the Fk did he ever become
      1. A Ranger
      2. A Captain

    • punt docherty ,jack and another few surplus and try and bring in steven davis as captain and the playmaker.

  5. Stern comments. I think it is easy to early to pick on a defensive pairing of Goldson and Magic, thayvwas their first competitive match and from what I saw they deal with everything comfortably. For the forst time in a long time I wasnt worried when a team attacked us. Way too early for this level of negativity. Windass did okay he certainly ran and chased, yes he wasted chances, on another night it could easy of been a hat trick. This Shkupi team were far better than Proges. They were organised tenacious and defended deep. I never have understood this attitude of piling pressure on a new team with new team members who have not gelled yet. Candieas is not CM…agreed, for McCrorie was unrequired tonight and windass should have been upfront with Morelos with Candeias on the right. But hey we won 2-0 and are a work in progress.

    • Again mate agree with.mist points. It is far far too early and in fact , downright fkin stupid to destruct a NEW SQUAD and Goodness grief, doubt Steve Gerrard PLUS add on someone should advise what HE meant hahaha.
      And your biggest point for me us, IF Morelos us to be given time He MUST have a partner.
      Lone Rangers get Ton to out of any defence

  6. 1 – to many players playing out of position
    2 – still cant score from a bloody corner
    3 – badly need another striker as well as umar to get on the end of all they wasted crosses

  7. Windass put in a shift something he is usually missing. Wasteful in front of goal but his back tracking won the ball that led to 1st goal. So abit harsh on him but he is a target for alot of fans. Don't think tav is captain material. Gerard sees Jack in training and obvoiusly thought he could do a job again abit harsh. But overall it was ok performance and score but that's not good enough cause ok is same as last year.

  8. agree with most your comments cant understand why cadaiss windass playing right wing .tav better than both running down the wing put in some fantastic balls ,how many chances do we give morrelos ,think we will need another center half ,fancy stevie ger to sort it .

  9. Thought our four defenders looked ok especially since this is the first competitive game they have played together. We need more dig and more skill in midfield. Young McCrorie will develop with time but he still has a lot to learn. Hopefully the young guy in on loan will make a difference. Morelos and Windass doesn't work, it is ok saying give them time to develop but we don't have time, Middleton looked better in the short time he was on than Windass did for the entire game. We need two quality strikers that know where the net is, otherwise we will be embarrassed in later games. Still a lot of work to be done and more quality needed.

  10. Dear friends,

    Thank you for this analysis of the Rangers game. It is a fascinating read and I enjoyed looking through it. I am a huge Steven Gerrard fan from Liverpool, but Rangers have always been my team of interest and support in Scotland. I'd like to share my opinion as well albeit disagree with most if not all of your statements.

    1. Morelos was top scorer last season and while Rangers are looking for a better first-choice hitman, he still remains one of the best in Scotland. It was a mistake not to sell him to China in January (if that rumour was true) for the amount of money offered, though.

    2. Agreed on Windass, however you have to keep in mind that most of the players are still rusty.

    3. That's just subjective nonsense. I did watch Celtic game on PremierSports and I could see they created nothing apart from the goals they scored (which is down to their players being more clinical than let's say Windass, who could and should have had a hat-trick), to add to that the game was even for 80 mins until their second goal. I haven't seen the Hibs game so I can't offer my opinion on it.

    4. His only other option was Ejaria, who most likely wasn't match fit and wouldn't have come on but for Arfield's injury.

    5. Agreed.

    6. How can you say defence was rubbish and they weren't tested in the same sentence? Goldson and Katic can't form a partnership in two pre-season games – it takes a lot of time and hard work even for the best in the world. The only two lapses in defence came from Tavernier – who is better going forward than defending. But with him it's about balance – he'll help the team better this way and other three lads will sort out the defensive side.

    7. Flanagan is the best player in the team, no discussion. He has played at the highest level and he cares about winning as much as the boss – that makes all the difference.

    8. He's young and raw so it will careless to throw him in unless he's ready mentally. And the only one in place to judge that is the manager, we cannot even begin to guess what's happening behind the scenes. But he looks a tremendous prospect, no doubt.

    9. Steven Gerrard is used to working with the best players, but he won't be able to do it in Scotland due to financial realities. But he will install the winning mentality amongst them and demand giving 110% every match.

    10. He did take the responsibility to score the penalty, didn't he? We don't know what happens behind the scenes to speak about players' characters, but Tavernier strikes me as a confident guy in his interviews. He is no Steven Gerrard or Barry Ferguson, but then who is?

    • Re #7 – you really are a Liverpool fan aren't you. Flanagan isn't the best player in the defence never mind the team! No discussion. lol

    • i didnt c game due too work, ive just read articlesummary middleton best player windass morelos shitdefence shit. i couldnt tell u who was in goal shots for against possesion no idea the score was one nil to rangers just by what i read tav scored a pen got that oot o a comment. ur comment wis a better read part fae the flanagan comment no hivin it not a fukin chance hes ok at best

  11. Flanagan … "a touch of quality" !! That's an astonishing statement. He looked clumsy with the ball at his feet and we lose too much going forward without D.J. in the team. Midfield shit again as they created fk all and as I said after the Bury game McCrorie and Jack aren't good enough. If it wasn't for that ridiculous penalty award we'd be in big trouble.

  12. After another pretty poor performance the usual rubbish spews out get rid more lost he was one of our best players in 1st half second half rubbish why bring on jack? windass is what he had always been not good enough as for Tav have no idea why he gets a game looks like another long season ahead unless the two latest loans can bring something to the team

  13. Well played Rangers 2-0 at home against a well organised team who are much better opposition that last year.
    Defence looking OK in my eyes Don t get your problem with any of them.
    Jack played ok when he came on as did all the subs especially Middleton.
    Front line worked hard but were wasteful, got in great positions which is always great news, goals will come but we need to be patient and get behind them.
    No complaints from me!!

  14. Can't disagree with anything said IN,but I would go a step further and say if SG keeps tavernier at right back instead of Flanagan then I'm afraid to say we will still be losing too many goals at the back like last season,he has to play tav in front of flanagan,as for el Buffalo and windass I've tried my best to stick up for these players in the past but after tonights performance/bad finishing I've had enough of them and I believe both of them should be sold asap……
    watp Helicopter 2005

  15. Disappointing! Can't say much about the defence because they weren't really tested. Flanagan was decent but I'd rather he was at right back, Tav in front of him. John at left back. Windass is still a waste of space. Middleton was far better in his 10 minutes. Morelos is the least dangerous striker I've seen, he never looks close to scoring. We need a genuine striker, hopefully Sadiq is the man but from what I've seen I'm not at all convinced. It's early, it's still a win, a clean sheet, another 90 minutes under their belts. Roll on next week.

  16. First game team still needs too gel but a lot promising things for me they never looked like scoring we could have had a few more new signings played well.just the usual from our supporters wasn't 6-0 so pure panic stations need too chill out a bit no away goals and a half decent performance needs too be better but I personally think it Will.

  17. stuart johnston i agree with yourself big man the defence was soild apart from tav getting caught out of position again and again but big gold always had it covered.i would possibly try flanagan right with declan john left tav mid right for a half see how they get on

  18. I agree with pretty much everything guys. Never been more glad to see Windass go off and what a prospect Middleton is must start next week! Morelos getting booked summed the wee pleb up tonight was the only action he saw tonight.

    One thing I will debate is I thought Goldson was spot on. Genuinely thought he was the motm outwith Middleton but he certainly had a few nervy passes but with time he will settle and boss our defence he won every header.

    And bringing Jack on at 55 was a master stroke because sitting in the stands that 1st 10 minutes in the 2nd we got over ran and Candeais was already booked. Once Gerrard done that we took control of the game back.

    But let's let them gel. Rodgers 1st competitive game was a 1 0 loss to Red Imps. It's going to take 6-8 games to get us up to standard. But certainly nights performance reminded me of how flat we were last year at Ibrox in the 1-0 win to Progrès. Here's hoping.

    • Good comparison with red imps, but also they're team hand played together for years, they only had to get used to a new system and a couple of new players

  19. Try a front 3 of Middleton, Murphy and Windass. You don't need a strongman up top necessarily and those three have a combination of youth, pace and skill to terrify many a defence. Very poor comments re Tav and the two new CBs in my opinion – my biggest concern was that Goodson and Katic might nod off.

  20. Can’t help but feel this article is way over the top, it’s the first competitive game ffs. Agreed on Morelos point, what game where you watching if you can knock the defence as badly as you have? 6 new players started this evening. We expect big things at rangers agreed but can’t expect miracles in game 1. I saw a lot of positives and a heck of a lot more togetherness tonight and I’m sure that’ll grow as games proceed. Don’t think any Gers fan was 100% satisfied but I’m sure an even bigger % are a lot more confident as opposed to concerned as we where last season. Give it time ffs and don’t start applying needless negativity upon the new boss and team as that gets us nowhere. Get behind the team not on it. Onwards and Upwards WATP

  21. Have to disagree with the Windass hot or not as he is never hot. Has scored some goals but offers nothing else to the team. Work shy and about to lose his place in the team soon

  22. Wow can hardly believe I'm saying this but I agree with 9 out of 10 of your points IN!! That's a record! But the one I particularly don't agree with is 7. No way is Flanagan a LB. He's a good player but far too right footed. He has to cut back onto his right every time even in defence. Either that or a scuffed clearance to the nearest opposition player. If they can't find a right side berth for him then he's out. We were playing against a mob that Declan John would have destroyed tonight. Flanangan hardly put a forward pass all night.

    Othe rpoints – Katic & Goldson looked nervous, particularly Goldson. Candeias was awful – can't believe some fans saying how good he was, what were they watching? Morelos was worse. If Sadiq has his visa then get Morelos off the pitch before I tackle him myself. Windass needs to sort himself out – he's got so much talent but was pish again. McCrorie is a good DM but he's being asked to run the midfield and he hasn't got the skill. Ejaria looked the business when he came on. Absolutely cruised. Once he's up to speed he will be brilliant. Middleton changed the mood when he came on but I feel he needs to develop his game a bit. Better defenders will sort him out right now. Why Jack came on is a complete mystery.

  23. Jack. Ejaria and Middleton should start in the return game. All had solid performances on the night. For me Morelos is a liability. Windass will not win us anything and Candaeas can be replaced with someone who can deliver an accurate cross. We can win games with Middleton but only with a CF who has a quickness of foot and is good in the air. Morelos has neither and the urgency of attack breaks down too often because of his slow thinking. We need a top class striker.
    But all that said and on reflection it was a decent result. Shkupi were no pushover and everyone should know after this game that we have a lot of work to do. Hopefully the new striker Sadiq can get on to Middleton"s crosses and deliver killer blows that we have lacked for many years.
    It is a new team/system and we got 100% effort and a clean sheet. It was a decent start, now lets build on it. One game at a time. Well done lads.

  24. What exactly did Declan John do to Lee Wallace…make him look a class defender? People have short memories too! Lee Wallace HOF!!! Gave his career up for the Gers!

  25. For god sake fellow bears lol… it's the first game of season and we win 2 nil, Rome wasn't built in 4 weeks so I'm happy as Larry! Watp

    • I'm with ya big man Rome was not built in 4 weeks we won should have/ could have been more rewarding for us on the night I thought defence was a lot Better that recent years follow the team and stop judging so soon

  26. It's SG first competitive game so let's not be overly critical..My thoughts are..
    Morelos looked worse and I thought that was impossible ..need a quality striker pronto or we will win nothing
    Defence were ok but Flannagan will get caught out by better quality.
    Windass was pish as usual but is not a winger..
    Thought RM Artfield and Murphy did well
    in the middle. Wee Middleton will need time but I like the look of him.
    It's a win Bears ! And we will take care of business over there but we definitely need more quality in before the season starts if we going to challenge the manky mob..

  27. Yes. A lot of work still to be done with Morelos and Windass still misfiring. Work to be done on set pieces and corners. It's early days but last nights performance was frustrating and far too reminiscent of last year. Perhaps however,fans and media underrated the opposition. They were hard to break down I and the misfiring chuckle brothers didn't help.

  28. It was our first competitive game guys please let's try and keep it in prospective! Yes Morelos not good enough Yes Windass trying to hard no composure .However Goldso Katic gonna be good . Coylibally and Sadiq will be a big improvement I do think. Tav is not a defender we all know that but his ball retention was poor last night . Good organisation by the opposition made us get frustrated. It's going to take time and especially patience from all REAL Rangers Supporters Please it'll look better when we play high tempo football and keep better shape. ONWARDS

  29. Look if we had won 6-0 I'd be the first to say let's not get too carried away. So having had a rather underwhelming and disappointing 2-0 win I'll say exactly the same thing.
    Defensively I thought we looked stronger. Tavernier is often criticised for leaving gaps behind him when he pushes forward. But presumably he is doing so on the instruction of the manager. In that case the remaining defenders need to make the necessary positional adjustments including enlisting the help of the defending midfielder. I suspect a back 3 with Tav on the right of a 5 man midfield is the answer.
    McCrorie will do a fine defending job in there but for me he played far too safe. Too often he won the ball and played it simple by rolling the ball to the side or backwards when an equally simple 20 yard pass forward would have put us on the front foot and had the opposition on the turn.
    It seemed to me that Windass has again found himself playing in a wide position. I thought we had established that he was much more effective from a central position.
    Show faith in Morelos and give him time to get up to speed. I see no reason why he won't score more goals this season than last.
    I liked the potential of Ejaria and Middleton in particular. Keen as mustard, confident and very direct.

  30. Christ almighty you would think we are Barcelona judging by these comments! 6 new players making competitive debuts under a manager during HIS first competitive match.
    It was never going to be another Bury match. Bury are going through pre-season several weeks behind us, Shkupi were a typically stuffy southern european team.
    Remember Advocaats first game? 0-3 down after 50 mins to Shelbourne!!! It doesnt always click straight away, we have to give the team time to bed in. 2 weeks pre season training and a couple of bounce games doesnt make you world beaters, Gerrard himself said we arent good enough yet to not be 100% commited.
    We missed a helluva lot of chances and on another night couldve gone in at half time 3 up.
    Some of your points have credance.
    Morelos needs to stop being so petulant, he also needs to stop straying so far wide as there were times we had crossing opportunities but nobody to aim for.
    Windass needs to swap for Candeias on the wide right. DC was outstanding there with Tav and frankly he looks lost in the inside right role. Windass wants to come inside all the time and stops us stretching the game by narrowing the channels.
    Hopefully big Umar is a good focal point up front, how this team could use a Prso or Hateley!

    Early days guys, lets get past this lot and concentrate on getting momentum!

  31. Started this 5 times now. Will cut to the quick. Morelos shite. That big girls blouse windass shite. will never ever get near that shower with 3rd class eejits like this. Fuck me, when will we bloody learn

  32. 1. Sell Morelos!
    …His Head is Gone, He Doesn't give a Crap about Rangers Anymore
    £5 – £6mill …Job Done

    2. Sell Windass
    …Not Consistent Enough, Just Dirt plus we don't really need him
    Murphy for the Left, Candeias for the Right and Arfield for the No.10
    £3-£5m and Down the Road

    3. Was not Good Enough! should have scored at least 4!
    …FFS Hibs Scored Six! and your not tellling me Shkupi are Miles Better than Runavik.

    4. FFS … He's a DM! its only one game in and He's already putting players out of position *Concerned for Season Ahead*

    5. What Game was Everyone Else Watching?
    …He was Awful, Couldn't Even Beat the First Man He Came To.

    6. The Defence individually was Decent. All Together They were Poor

    7. I Hope Not, Much Prefer DJ

    8. What A Performance From Young Middleton!
    …He's Definitely Ready and has the Potential to be a £10m Player

    9. Got a Horrible Feeling, We are facing another Progres Result

    10. J Tav is No Longer Rangers Captain Material!
    …Back to Waldo? McGregor? Goldson? McCrorie? Jack?

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