“The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” – eleven key observations v Shkupi


After another unconvincing and difficult 90 minutes in Steven Gerrard’s fledgling Rangers regime, Ibrox Noise takes you through our customary observations of the good, bad, and downright ugly of what was ultimately safe passage to the second round of the UEL. How many do you share?

1: The last time we did this, we smeared Alfredo Morelos for a variety of negative attributes. Unfortunately, the 22-year old Colombian actually managed to put in a worse shift today and it appears many fans have finally lost patience with him. We were staggered by his incompetence today, and worried by it.

2: Game management, as testified by the manager, was good. Sure, it was effectively the Macedonian equivalent of Clyde (sorry Bully Wee) we were up against, but it was an away leg for an XI who had only three players in their ranks to ever win a European tie (McGregor, Jack and Morelos) so progress was actually welcome and game management for such an inexperienced crew admirable.

3: But it was a bunch of Macedonian sheep herders, and to fail to score or really look especially dangerous went a bit beyond disappointing. Ibrox Noise got castigated last week for our heavy criticism of the corresponding leg – tonight was little evidence that we were wrong, even if the language used last time was a tad more emotional than usual.

4: Allan McGregor is justifying the hype – it’s staggering to say it but he may have been the difference tonight – three outstanding saves, proving what a difference it is when you have a truly top class goalkeeper. A bit sad though when your goalie has to bail you out against opposition of this calibre though.

5: Ovie Ejaria is justifying his manager’s faith and making our utter scepticism of his signing look silly. He looks composed, intelligent, and his through pass for Glenn Middleton was inch perfect. We like him a lot.

6: This Rangers team is nowhere near where we need it to be. While we did scrape through tonight, few are convinced by the product on the pitch, and it doesn’t appear, yet, to be really any much better (if at all) than the last crop we had.

7: Except in defence. If we overlook Tavernier (more on him in a second) we have truly got an excellent back line now. Readers mistook our thoughts last time around as a smear on Goldson – it wasn’t – we were impressed by Katic but thought the partnership itself with his new team mate hadn’t clicked yet. Well, tonight Katic was big and put himself in the hurt again, while Goldson was composed, slick, raked out some outstanding cross-field passes and defended strongly while their combination worked a lot better. That’s something that appears to have gotten fixed.

8: Flanagan again also proved he has to be our first choice whether at LB or RB. The lad is superb. Reads the game immaculately, times his tackles brilliantly – anyone who doubted the signing surely doesn’t now.

9: But yes, Tavernier – he simply isn’t a captain and continues to be insufficient as a defensive force. The problem we feel is he doesn’t look like he commands the players’ respect, and never did, and we still insist it was an error appointing him in the role.

10: Profligacy – other than Windass’ very decent shot well saved, we can’t remember too many attacks which led to a close thing. Morelos is abominable, and we have no one else beyond Windass providing any ammunition. In short, attack feels threadbare, and Gerrard alluded to this himself at full time – a worrying lack of quality up front.

11: Gerrard’s performance was mixed – his XI utterly predictable and still using half the team out of position, but while we were disappointed with his post match assessment last time around, this time we appreciated his honesty where he was modestly satisfied with game management and ultimate progression but bemoaned just how poor the quality on display was.

There is plenty more to digest but that’ll do for now.

What did you guys and gals see that we didn’t?


  1. McCrorie Windass Morelos should just get to fuck asap, that game felt like a loss, completely deflated after it, we should be taking 6 at least at a time off teams like that, but that today was an absolute fucking joke, Hibs would've demolished that team the day, its fucking embarrassing

    • Bit harsh! Mccrorie is still just a boy, he’s not going to be consistent every week at this stage and just needs game time. Windass blows hot and cold and probably isn’t a rangers player but he does try, decision making is his biggest problem but again I think there’s a player there. Morelos I agree should go but I don’t see it happening now. This is the attitude that effects players, we are 2 games into the season and you’re already acting like we’re 20 points behind Celtic. This is still essentially pre season for a brand new team. Try passing judgement in a few months rather than instantly.

    • You can only call it as you see it and Morelos and McCrorie had a shocker. Although they are young players I do think Ejaria and Middleton can get us goals with an out and out striker yet to find. I am 100% sure Steve knows we were lucky to have played the sheepherders in the first round. But he better have more of a goal threat for the sheepshaggers.

    • I don't agree on your assessment of McCrorie. I thought he was far better this week than last. My criticism then was that he was too safe and needed to play more forward passes. I think he did that this time around but needs to do more.

  2. Gerrard is still trying to get things right and I agree with you guys to a point. However I do believe the goals will come and by this time last year we had conceded 2 goals to progres popcorn and we were out of Europe. Yes we should have won more comfortably and I admire Gerrard for having an honest assessment of his team. Wasn’t parading us around as if we are going to win the cup. We have played 2 European games and conceded nothing which in my book is something to be happy with. We also have another 2 players to come in and I would like to see another defender and striker bought and I think we will be good. The aim was to make it through and that’s what we did.

  3. Morelos , Windass , Murphy and Candais are no where near good enough they are squad playwrs at best. Flannigan should
    Be played at right back with Tav pushed into right midfield and Declan John at left BK

    • jimmy your spot on those 4 have had to many chances they are just not good enough its like watching the same team as last year ,tav does candyass job ,hopefully we sign another center back play 3 at the back joun on left ,flannigan right move tav up sack candyass ,morellos, windass, murphy ,stevie ger will sort it if he sticks with those 4 hes furked

  4. We are through, another clean sheet, another 90 minutes under their belt but the most positive thing for me is Gerrard acknowledged the final 3rd is poor (non existent more like). I'm now confident he will deal with it. Again windass and Morelos are a joke. Murphy was poor but I think anyone would look poor surrounded by windass Morelos and candieas. 2 strikers and another CB required. What's happening with Declan john?

  5. Can't really disagree with much in there no. Can't see who else he could choose. And no.11 I think Gerrard did what he had to with the players available the preasures of getting through this tie were immense regardless of who we were playing. I just can't believe how bad Morelos has got, he's either totally lost confidence or totally lost interest cause he never got his January move. Probably gotta go now.

  6. I seen that the stadium was empty,like a training match atmosphere not good by any means
    And we still have long way to go the gaffer has acknowledged this after the match
    Morelos what is wrong with him,how long can we wait till he gets it together ffs,hes blasting it when he should be passing it unbelievable

    Anyway we're in the next round and 2 clean sheets for a change thats the postives🇬🇧

    LETS GO WATP 🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧

  7. I still that last week's critique was far too pessimistic, however, this week your words are more measured and fair. There's absolutely nothing wrong with expecting a higher standard. With that said, someone has to grab Morelos by the back of the neck and make him learn. The kid is a proven goal scorer, but when things don't go his way, he melts into obscurity. Not the character you would expect from a rising 22 year-old talent. He just switches off and takes his ball and goes home. I think it's time to give Sadiq a run in the team for a bit so that young Alfredo can learn that his spot is far from guaranteed. I still feel there are plenty of positives here defensively to our hat on, but you're quite right, attack simply has to get better, there's just no way around it. One thing is for certain, Gerrard is not going to tolerate his players lacking the required killer instinct in the final third. I still have nothing but respect and commitment for Stevie G getting these guys sorted out. We all know the stakes here. #LetsGo

  8. Your criticism of Tav is getting ridiculous. Last week, by any standard, he was our best player. Tonight he was our ONLY attacking threat. I had to listen to the game on Talk Sport and the commentators view was he could play in the English Premiership!!! Give the guy a f…. break, he was/is the only choice as captain. You don't hand the band to a new signing (like our centre backs) who know nothing about the club and have never captained a side before. As for McGregor (brilliant signing though he is) he is not a captain. Tav is Steve's choice. He's been captain for two games – games he has been, arguably our best player. As for the criticism of Morelis, Windass and particularly Candais – I agree entirely with the comments made. Not remotely Rangers class. TAV, however, most definitely is!

    • Shows you what the Talksport commentators know. Tavernier's saving grace is going forward but he is one of the worst full backs I've seen at Ibrox.

    • Tav is one of the worst fullbacks the club has ever had!(defensively speaking). He ain't a captain either. Going forward he's excellent and playing in front of Flanagan I think would be a fantastic right side. Worse than a man down at times in defence though..

    • Look it's tactically very simple. If Tavernier is bombing forward it's because his manager has told him to do so and that makes sense because as everyone seems to agree that is playing to his strengths. He can't then be expected to be sitting there as a defensive right back. It's impossible to be in 2 places at the same time. It's up to the manager to sort that out defensively by shuffling the remaining back 3 across the line and/or by utilising the defending midfielder.

    • Appointing Tavernier as Captain was bizarre, definitely needs to be replaced. Can't believe he won MOM last week after another dreadful display.

  9. It's early days. We need to calm down big time, this jumping on the bandwagon slating players won't do no good, it'll only create negativity(which we've had plenty of lately) so sack that. I would say once there's a proper challenge for Morelos' spot up front, it can only be a good thing, hopefully Sadiq will provide that. Let's just calm it doon we're only 3 games in. Keep it real.

  10. It's early days but I'm a bit concerned that we are very light up front. Morelos is clearly out of form and needs to learn to play as part of a team. It's not all about him. What if he doesn't snap out of it? What if Sadiq comes in and doesn't fit into the team? Where do we go from there? We must sign another striker, preferably one with a track record.
    Just a word on Windass. It's clear that there are a number of fans who just don't like him. Tonight he was far from our worst player. He worked hard and had our only shot worthy of comment in the first half. I'm confident that if he's played in a central position he will bring us 20 goals this season. I don't really understand why he played out left while Murphy played central.

  11. Even though its early days the lack of fire power/poor finishing in both matches is there for every one to see and Stevie g has some serious decisions to make, but he must make these decisions now and not drag this on hoping that el Buffalo
    will turn his form around any time soon and I believe he must be left on the bench and as for tavernier I said last week that he should be in front of a proper right back which would be Flanagan as once again we saw his lack of defensive skills in the dying minutes which if it wasn't for McGregor's great save we would be talking about another embarrassment for our club and if Stevie g can't see this then I'm afraid to say its going to be a long hard season once again,..please get it sorted now…..watp Helicopter 2005

  12. As bears, i think we are all agreed that we want morelos to do well. That said there comes a time when good managers take the boy to one side and explain to him for his benefit and take the pressure off, to let him bang a few goals in what we called the reserves. In truth though i can't see him or windass despite last season, carrying the threat in old firm games in particular. If i were in the job i would have signed 5 who would ave a major impact, steven davis (captain) cummings, moult, maine and brophy of killie. player swaps could help accomadate it.

    • They should never have been kept on. Maybe SG's first catastrophic failure, is a failure to see how much Alfredo and Josh Windass cost us, last season. I believe, if they stay, they'll cost us more, this season.

  13. Another Pish Performance! 😡
    We should have had them dead and buried by the first leg!

    1. Sell Him Now!
    He doesnt give a toss about Rangers! …literally the first decent offer that comes in …Take It!
    Boy doesnt Deserve to Wear The Jersey!

    2. No Colplaints 👍

    3. It was Fuckin Shite. Plain and simple …like I Said previously they should have been buried in the first leg!

    4. Still Bossing Boxes at 36!
    Top Man Gregsy! …some Great Saves!

    5. Didnt look that great in the first leg but changed my opinion with this performance …cant wait to see him Carving open The Sheep/Killie etc 😂👍

    6. Again …Not Bloody Good Enough.

    7. Delighted with how the defence is taking shape! 😃👍⚽

    8. Play Him at RB, John at LB,
    Drop Tav,
    Candei at RM and Murphy at LM

    9. Shouldnt have been made captain
    Drop Him…Jon F at RB
    Maybe its time for him to move on? 🤔

    10. Now that the backline is almost fixed, we need a whole new frontline 😣

    Also think we missed the boat by not taking cummings back

    11. Play the Players in their Positions! …Simple 🤗⚽

  14. what's really annoying is many things from season ticket sales to the new kits have brought the feel good factor back, we just need the side to keep the momemtum going.SG should decide his preferred formation preferably 4-4-2 and pick his favoured 11 to gain the consistency needed and tweak it only when really needed. the constant changes prevents players getting to get used to each others game. The last 3 managers could not decide their favoured 11 or formation, they hoped it would just click but ran out of ideas. then u see how a team like kilmaarnock improve wth proper management and stucture.

    • One of the main criticisms of the last 3 managers was that they DID know their formation then stuck to it rigidly regardless of what was happening on the pitch. Gerrard will know his preferred formation but is trying to work out if he has the players to make it work. That will take time and due to the early start to the season he'll need to find out in competitive matches. Any good manager should be able to change formations if the game requires it. The players need to be up to it.

  15. Robbie Wilson , I agree with MOST of your points, ultimately stating facts.
    1. Early Doors
    2. We are through to breath until next Thursday, next round ( against better teams)
    3. We DO have 4-6 others to do come into the squad.
    4. NOBODY Can leave without improved replacements.
    5. Plenty, plenty either not performed or good enough. Get them on the bench and bring either new guns in or youth players who are ready.
    Better still, put THE UNDERPERFORMING in the Academy to learn how they should be playing.
    6. I don't believe Dorrans or Jack are any better than those being criticised
    7. Wtf is Rossiters update.

    Neither of the two prospective opponents in round two are easy meats.

    Be warned

    • The only reliable thing about Rossiter is that we can't rely on him. So please stop. If he ever gets fit and stays fit we shall consider it a bonus. It's like saying "if we could get Brian Laudrup fit he would be a huge asset".

  16. After 180 minutes of European football, Niederkorn aside, I don't feel I am watching an improvement on last year. Yes, the core of the defence looks much better – McGregor was immense, and Goldson and Katic are better than last year's garbage (but nowhere near a Bougherra or a Kyriakos so far). Midfield was poor – no attacking incisiveness against a very poor opposition – and the attack utter tripe. I thought Candeias was excellent on the right wing last year, and can't understand why Stevie G insists on playing him out of position. Don't agree with the criticisms of Murphy. Granted he didn't have a good game this time, but he has saved our bacon many times, including in the first leg. Who does he have to work with up front? The corner flag?

    • So apart from a big goalkeeper improvement and a much better defence we haven't made any improvement?

  17. Yes, we have the back line fixed, but I can't believe SG is still wanting to hold onto Morelos. Does he think he'll come good?? But it's this type of blind faith in him, that cost us dearly, last season. Get rid of Morelos. Period. I personally, think he is the MISS KING and a wages thief. How much times is he going to fluff it in front of goal, or just not turn up, before we get rid?? He's a liability. Just ask yourselves what the Celtic score would have been, if they played that side. THAT is how far off from success, we are. It's getting beyond a joke now, with this guy. I don't think LFC loan-ees, are going to save us.

  18. Yes it’s early days and I don’t think the team has played enough games in pre-season.
    Did SG want to keep them
    out of the limelight?
    We look as if it’s going to take 10 hard games to get up to speed

  19. Dear friends,

    Enjoyed reading your analysis this time as well and would like to offer my opinion on 11 points you've made.

    1. Still by far the best striker in the Scottish League (apart from Celtic ones). Hopefully Umar Sadiq will deliver some competition to push both of them on.

    2. Totally agreed. In my opinion it's better to have a good game management skill in the team than any other one. Solid, in control of the game.

    3. That's disrespectful towards Shkupi and just plain wrong. They would have finished in the top half of SPL in lots of recent seasons especially given the facts that St. Johnstone (4th in the League) lost to mighty Trakai of Lithuania (in 2017), Hearts (3rd) were beaten by Maltese giants of Birkirkara (2016) and Stjarnan of Iceland knocking out Motherwell (2nd) (2014).

    4. Best goalkeeper in the land. He could have easily been playing in the English Premier League, but Rangers are the lucky ones to have him.

    5. His touch was off on a couple of occasions, but he looks a prospect. Hopefully he can become a first-choice number 10 for the team when he builds up his fitness.

    6. Scrape through!? Shkupi had ONE chance in 180+ mins of play. Total control from Rangers albeit wasteful upfront.

    7. Defence looks really solid and in my opinion it is much more important than being high-scoring. Rangers were top scorers in Scotland last season, how many trophies did it land? Stevie G worked under Rafa and knows that the way to win trophies, especially under difficult financial conditions, is to build from the back.

    8. Best outfield player in the team. I'm still disgusted with Klopp for not building Liverpool around him and making him captain. Flanno is cut from the same cloth as the gaffer and is of the same upbringing as guys like Jamie Carragher and Wayne Rooney.

    9. We can't discuss whatever happens behind the scenes as we simply don't know. On the pitch he's much better going forward than defending, but everyone should have learnt that over the past seasons. That's why it's about balance – Tav goes forward, Flanno stays. Several of his forward runs were bearing fruit and but for forwards' wasteful finishing, he would have scored 2 or 3 assist over the tie.

    10. Agreed and Manager started his post-match review with that. We can all be 100% confident he's got "improving upfront" at the top of his to-do list.

    11. He can't play other cards other than the ones he was dealt with. Given what he had, I believe he's done a good job. Comfortable win overall, virtually no scares at the back, lots of chances created – early signs look good. Cannot see your point about picking half of the team out position, maybe Windass and Murphy, but others played in their first-choice places on the pitch. So far Gerrard's transfer work has been good: McGregor, Katic, Goldson, Flanno and Arfield look instant hits, Ejaria seems to be a very decent player and gaffer can tell from the experience of working with him at Liverpool, Murphy has already been a part of Rangers so didn't need any time to kick on. Hopefully Umar Sadiq and Lassana Coulibaly will follow suit and we know he said he wanted another centre-back. I won't be talking about challenging for the title just yet, but second place finish and long cup runs guaranteed in my opinion.

Comments are closed.