Friday, 28 September 2018

October at Ibrox - early player report card. "Must do better"?

With nearly 20 fixtures under the belt of the Steven Gerrard era, it seems a fair amount of playing time to give the squad, both existing and new signings, an early season report card. There are some interesting assessments to make, and we will keep these scores to those who have most appearances, and those significant enough to warrant them, regardless of playing time.

So, without further ado:

Allan McGregor:

A brilliant signing that we cannot fault, not every single match has been imperious but the quality Rangers have in goal now has been such a hike from the past 6 six years. He was free, he was one of us, he’s brilliant and it’s just silly to give him anything less than full marks. 10

Wes Foderingham:

He’s lost his place, to a better man, and he’s made two appearances – one v Killie in which frankly he barely put a foot wrong and made an exceptional save as well, on top of another quiet night v St Johnstone. The arrival of McGregor may have forced Wes to up his game, but given he’s only made two appearances, regardless of how well he played in one of them, we can’t give much more than 7. 7

James Tavernier:

Oh what a mixed bag Tav still is. Few among the fanbase seem truly happy he’s been given the captaincy, but when he really focuses and produces his best, he’s among the finest RBs in the country. His attacking, only a minority can fault, and he scores as well as assists – his defending though is notorious. Some matches even see the best and worst of him at the same time – at fault for a number of the goals v Killie, he also assisted the goals Rangers scored too. A real Jekyll and Hyde. 7

Jon Flanagan:

He’s generally been solid – he doesn’t attack with the same gusto as Tav, but his versatility makes him useful as cover on either side of defence, and his defending generally is reliable if not spectacular. Got away with one or two recently v Saints and Ayr, but overall an extremely dependable signing. 7

Connor Goldson:

Spectacular Carlos Cuellar-esque start to life at Ibrox, and he’s mostly kept that up. He dipped slightly at Killie, had an absolute mare at Motherwell, but seems to have ridden that storm and got back to mostly what he’s capable of. Definitely Rangers’ first-choice CB. 8

Nikola Katic:

We love this guy – pure heart. He does make gaffes, and some of his decision-making smacks of a 21-year old defender still learning his trade, but he puts himself where it hurts, and he’s giving every inch of himself to help his club. He is also strong, and good in the air, and foils Goldson perfectly. 8

Joe Worrall:

We’ve seen him in our shirt twice now, and while many gave him plaudits for his display in Villarreal, we weren’t buying it. And he looked pretty weak against Ayr too. He just isn’t convincing, and he reminds us physically of Karl Svensson – he’s young, yes, but quite honestly, at this point in time we’d rather stick with Katic and Goldson. 5

Borna Barisic:

He doesn’t have a big influence in the sense that he doesn’t get heavily involved in the matches yet, but what he does do, at least in attack, is some worldie crossing and some nifty footwork to make space for that. Defending is not quite up to speed yet, and he was at fault in Spain for Villarreal’s second, but this is now a Croatian international regular so he will get there. The quality of this guy is obvious and we can tell he has a bright future to say the least. 8

Ryan Jack:

Oh Ryan, yet another injury problem blights this guy – we’ve seen how good he can be – his displays in Croatia and Aberdeen was masterclasses of gimmick-free defending, and he won us over entirely. Unfortunately he’s been out pretty much half the time he’s been at Ibrox and while his biggest supporters justify his injuries, the same one castigate Rossiter for it. We’re losing faith that Ryan Jack will ever be fit enough to sustain a run of matches for this club. 6

Lassana Coulibaly:

Grew wonderfully in the role of engine room grit sweeper, making life so much easier for his peers, and became a major component of Rangers’ great form. His injury derailed him a little and he’s been seeking fitness and form since then. We like this guy, a lot. We just hope he gets fully back to his pre-St Mirren form soon. 9

Ross McCrorie:

Struggled desperately in the 4-1-4-1 but has looked far more assured in the 4-3-3, McCrorie has a fair amount of talent and it’s good to see one of our own burst through the ranks and become part of the first team. Whether he’s good enough to be a long-term fixture time will tell, but he’s been not half bad, when played properly. 7

Andy Halliday:

One of Our Own has really stepped up this season. While not a true first choice if all are fit, he has deputised impressively at both LB and DM and frankly hasn't let his side down at all. He's had a new lease of life under Gerrard and can consider himself proud to be so justifiably part of the Gerrard regime. 8

Scott Arfield:

A lot of fans seem to dislike Arfield, and we can’t figure out why. He gets labelled overrated and other such slurs and to this point he’s led midfield, aided the younger guys like Couli and McCrorie, and given everything to the cause. He has a great touch, uses the ball well, scores, and does most things properly. He’s been pretty much impeccable. Thumbs up from us. 9

Ovie Ejaria:

He’s been a improving prospect in the middle – after having little impact in matches early on, now he looks a lot more the part. His feet v Ayr were frightening at times, and he clearly has technical quality about him. Still probably, in our opinion, isn’t a starter if all are fit, but he doesn’t weaken us as much as we felt he did at the start. Decent. 7

Graham Dorrans:

We considered excluding Dorrans given his limited playing time, but what we’ve seen of him on his return looks remarkable. He was incredible in Spain, impressive v St Johnstone, and quieter but composed v Ayr. He seems a reborn player and he’s given Steven Gerrard more squad depth and bigger selection headaches. The type he wants. 8

Daniel Candeias:

Honestly, we’ve been mostly unimpressed with Danny this season. We back him to turn it round, but his impact on 18/19 has been negligible compared with last campaign, and while he’s done little wrong, he just isn’t having the same effect on matches. He’s been disappointing. 6

Glenn Middleton:

What a find – we don’t care if this was Mark Allen, Graeme Murty or Sam and Dave, whoever brought him from Norwich found us a gem. A talented, quick, skilful and wide-eyed young winger with the world at his feet. He can do it against Ayr or Villarreal, that’s how good this kid is capable of being. We can’t fault him. 10

Jamie Murphy:

Slightly unfair to rate him but he played enough pre-injury to show what he was onto under Gerrard, and initially it was a bit quiet by his old standards. He started to pick up a bit and looked better in Slovenia before that injury v Killie destroyed his season. He will be a new signing when he comes back. 6

Kyle Lafferty:

Amazing first match v Motherwell featured two goals, but he had to wait till Villarreal and his sumptuous finish before he got another – works hard, and we know the quality we will get from Kyle. He’s not quite Ronaldo but he leaves it all out there and we like this guy a hell of a lot. 8

Alfredo Morelos:

Another Jekyll and Hyde, he really does divide supporters hugely. When he’s in form he is monstrous up front and creates havoc for defences, but he’s extremely wasteful as well when going for goal. His decision making, often, is horrific and he’s happy at times to fire weak shots into defenders and let them block rather than playing in a team mate. And yet, he can win matches alone. A genuine curate’s egg this boy. 7

Umar Sadiq:

We thought we’d include him for a laugh. He has unfortunately been one heck of a flop – showing no signs of blending in with Scottish football, this guy is struggling desperately, and while he’s included for amusement purposes, equally we feel sorry for him because he’s a new kid in a new country and he just isn’t managing to adapt. We rated him highly and thought he’d be outstanding here, alas the only thing he’s been outstanding with is his height. Depressing. 0

Those are the mains ones, we’ve probably forgotten a few.

Let us know your agreements/disagreements/angry replies in the comments.

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