“A messy wee player”; 10 things we noted against Maribor at Ibrox


Rangers’ European adventure continues following last night’s surprisingly comfortable 3-1 over Slovenian giants Maribor.

Ibrox Noise takes you through all the things we think we noted during another productive 90 minutes in Govan.

1: Even our weaker apparent lineups still produce the goods. While Steven Gerrard selected a slightly underwhelming-looking XI, it still completely did the business as convincingly as it had v Osijek. The squad depth is starting to look good. Very, very good.

2: Jon Flanagan is an interesting player – he appears a little consistent. From his imperious display at Pittodrie, his level definitely dipped yesterday. Not awful by any stretch, but definitely not as good as he was on Sunday. But then, we can’t expect perfection all the time.

3: Steven Gerrard seems, match by match, to be having a positive effect on Alfredo Morelos. The pettiness is still there, and the look of a man who found a tenner but lost £20, but it’s reducing. It is definitely getting less. He continues to work hard deeper, and while both of his ‘goals’ (including the disallowed one) were pretty scrappy at best, he seems to be back in the scoring habit now. He was outstanding in Croatia, and rather good last night too.

4: Defence was the least convincing it’s been since Gerrard became manager, but it was still good enough. Goldson looked solid enough but Katic had a few hairy moments, alluding again to the fact he still has a lot to learn. We love both of them but that was definitely the most pressure it’s gone under, and Allan McGregor had to bail them out a few times.

5: James Tavernier seems to be seriously improving as a player. Steven Gerrard may be having an effect on him too, because he appears far more focused on defending now than he has… ever. He still attacks with gusto, but he’s now reading the game much better and positioning himself better. The improvement, like Morelos, is there game by game, and even when he looks highly advanced on the pitch, he is now learning to get back more quickly and anticipate attacks. He was pretty impressive last night.

6: Coulibaly is a messy wee player. He had a gritty fighting match last night, and was in the wars a few times, but he really does do the ugly running and work no one else wants to. Maribor’s midfield barely got a second because of him, and while technically his game is lacking, his heart isn’t. He reminds us very much of a young Rino Gattuso.

7: Ejaria is struggling. He just isn’t gelling in this team yet at all, albeit we have suggested a few times he’s playing out of position. He looked cumbersome and lost, and appeared to be in the wrong place most of the time. He has some talent, but right now it’s not showing.

8: We’re not much convinced about Ryan Kent either. He seems at this point very similar to his team mate Jamie Murphy – lots of dribbling but no end product and a lack of connection with his team mates. Hopefully SG can get the best from him and Ejaria in due course.

9: The three goals Rangers have conceded this season; one deflection, and two unstoppable finishes. To score against us right now you need luck or a truly magnificent goal, and that speaks volumes for how tight Gerrard has got us at the back now. Well played sir.

10: As magnificent as Ryan Jack has been recently, we didn’t miss him an iota – that’s a compliment to Arfield (another solid leading game) and Coulibaly who stepped up and delivered. This is a testament to how Gerrard has filled the squad out with enough players that the bench is the same strength as the XI.

Overall this was a Champions League level team (last season) we were against and we really played. It wasn’t perfection over the whole 90 but at this point in the playoffs that’s not gonna happen. The team is stepping up and right now, this is the best Rangers team since 2011. That’s a fact.


  1. Arfield has been bang average at best, poor at worst. He has some serious improving to do if he’s to stay in the team. I just don’t see much in him.

    Surprised the article didn’t cover him.

    • Leaving the west enclosure last night at full time was back to the old days, everybody singing Blue Sea of Ibrox while you were probably half way home for a nit pick mate.

    • He may be a player but so far he’s been poor. Premier League player ? Not so far. I’m guessing you also think Candeias is also a player.

    • Absolutely Tommy. His tackling and work rate are superb. As for point 4 did anyone else think we played with three at the back? Tavernier was in midfield and. Goldston and Matic were further apart than they've been in our other games and both seemed to suffer.
      Great result though.

  2. Some players will take longer than others to settle in
    Fantastic result lastnight
    Sir Stevie is on the ball these halftime talks work wonders🕺

    LETS GO WATP 🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧

  3. I was over the moon with the scoreline. The goal that was conceded was freakish. The team are just looking so good. The quality is like going back in time. I feel like a man in a desert who has found an oasis. New life. Rangers baby!

  4. I'm the first to come down on them when we lose, especially on Morelos, but I think it was a great performance. I'm glad, Alfredo is proving me wrong. Coulibally is a workhorse that will hopefully pester Celtic to death. The first game against Celtic, is going to be the acid-test to our season, for me. But if we can beat Maribor in the next leg, that money will help us. playoffs, who knows how that will go. But for once, i'm happy to have nothing to complain about. Credit where it's due. They done well last night. They shouldn't wait till the half time bollocking, to get their arses into gear. They must come out like that, from the start. But i'm as happy as a dog with two tails.

  5. It was a good performance & win last night. No complaints regarding the result. But ibrox noise take another look at point 1. We don't have strength in depth, the starting 11 was good but our bench was made up of youth players. If we don't get more experienced players in, we will struggle if we get a few injuries, especially up front

  6. Well done Rangers. Great result.
    There is no doubt we are better at the back and it's true what you say about the goals we've conceded. However, I'm not convinced we are there yet. Maribor made a good few chances last night over and above their fluke ( I think) goal. Had they converted any one of them we could've been in trouble. It was the same away at Osijek. Better teams will punish those lapses.
    I agree regarding Ejaria. He seems to want to dwell on the ball too long and often gets caught in possession or pressured into a bad pass. I'm still hoping he will find his feet as the season progresses. Likewise Kent who seems to run into defenders more than he passes them.
    Flanagan's distribution was very poor at times and worryingly it was on his better right foot so he can't even use the excuse he was on the wrong side of the pitch.
    Tavernier was excellent, as was Coulibally and Morelos was much improved. Though if you ever wanted proof that footballers were thick you only need to look at Morelos and Candeias at the disallowed goal. It really was pathetic play from both!

  7. I agree with IN that Kent and Ejaria seem our weakest points just now. They may grow into the jersey, but when Jack comes back, Arfield can move forward to replace one of them. I would like to see either Arfield or Murphy play with either Ejaria or Kent, to give us more experience in the advanced midfield area. I would like to see Murphy in the hole behind Morelos
    Point 2, did you really mean Flanagan appears a little consistent?

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