Monday, 5 August 2019

Have Rangers helped or hindered their title hunt? -Opinion



The morning after the afternoon before, and Rangers fans wake up to their first win at Rugby Park in the league since 2011.

How do we assess the overall start Rangers made to the season in Kilmarnock?

The first clear benchmark to aim for is this was absolutely the first test of the season. Forget all the friendlies and the European lightweights, this season opener is already one of the four hardest matches of the season out of the way. No team has taken more from Rangers at home than Kilmarnock recently, bar the obvious, and to begin with arresting that slide is huge.

Already, Rangers have taken the same amount points from Rugby Park in one match as they took from there in total in the league since October 2017. Almost two years.

Many have tried to downplay the gravity of this win by arguing Rangers were poor, and that Kilmarnock, humiliated in Europe by Welsh minnows, are currently horrific with no Steve Clarke to guide them – so can we remind them that in the previous five league meetings prior to his appointment, Rangers secured only one win. It wasn’t just Steve Clarke, Kilmarnock were an outright bogey team whoever their manager was.

So that is significant.

The further positive is that it gets Rangers off on the front foot – an opening season win for only the second time since promotion. The only other manager to get Rangers off to 3 points was Pedro’s hapless side – and they were a lot, lot worse at Fir Park in 2017 than Rangers were yesterday.

There are, of course, drawbacks. Rangers’ performance v Alessio’s side certainly wasn’t convincing – a number of players, especially the summer signings, failed to impress, and regular stalwarts like James Tavernier and Steven Davis did not perform their best by some distance.

Kilmarnock could indeed have won this match for better finishing, and Rangers’ defence looks frail – Steven Gerrard ruined the Katic Goldson duo by breaking it up last season, and now it has no chemistry at all.

And while Rangers had a lot of the ball, it lacked purpose, penetration and concise patterns. There appeared a lack of tactical approach in this match, with the aim being pass to death and try to feed the flanks.

But while these are more than nitpicks, the end result is the part that matters.

Rangers took three points in the kind of match they wouldn’t have last season. Indeed, they didn’t.

But Gerrard needs to get a settled XI and a consistent and effective tactic – and it doesn’t get an ounce easier on Saturday when Paul Heckingbottom’s strong-fancied Hibs come to Ibrox.

If Rangers come through that one with another 3 points, it’s already the best start to an SPL season since promotion. But in 2017 Hibs were the second opponent too and won at Ibrox so we’ll take nothing for granted.

We’re not saying the start is promising, but equally while our title hopes were doused a little by the quality of performance at Rugby Park, it wasn’t completely put out. Celtic made a statement, but we don’t need to make a statement to win a title.

Just win games. Keep doing that, however we do it, and we’re in with a shout.

7 comments:

  1. Good win yesterday but he is going to have to change tactics. Jack and Davis do the same job and against an 11 man defense he would have been better adding in Defoe and sacrificing a midfielder.

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  2. I agree with all of the above, rangers wee very lucky on Sunday that they did not loose the game, rangers in the second half did not turn up Kilmarnock were the only team wanting to win, the defense is absolutely rubbish, but hey lets not blame the players the Manager,s neck is on the front line its up to him to halve a stable team.

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  3. One league game played - too early to be making judgments on players or title chances.

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  4. We were a couple of hundred seconds away from a disaster yesterday - but it would have been the performance not the draw that would have led the self-flagellation in the post mortem this morning, and it still should be. In this first game of the season if we had performed well and been unlucky to draw, i'd be disappointed but ok with it. I'm more disappointed that we actually won badly. Winning ugly is the stuff of champions when you're playing badly in January with injuries, suspensions and players off-form etc. It's not how you start the season. I would exonerate Tav though - he did not play well and clearly misses Candy, but he drove the team up the park in the last few minutes to get Aribo's chance, that got the corner, that led to the goal. A bit more leadership from those around him earlier in the second half would have been nice to see

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  5. Last season we played Aberdeen off the park with 10 men and came away with only 1 point .We didn`t play well yesterday but deserved to win because even in a poor second half we were better than Killie .Sorry Mr Unknown you are talking rubbish. I would rather just win at this stage of the season , if we do it when not playing well then so be it .Think what we will do when we are playing well .

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    1. The win was important but the performance was equally so and it wasn't good. It wasn't just that we didn't play well. It's the attitude of the players who think they can choose when and when not to play. It's the unbearable passing from side to side. It's passing the ball at a snails pace instead of zipping it around. It's the unwillingness to play the ball out quickly from the back when the opposition do eventually send some players forward. It's the inability to shoot from distance. These are all deep seated problems with our players and if they or the manager don't recognise it and do something about it then it's second again for us this season.

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  6. Let's all calm down please...although I too was shouting at the TV yesterday as we should have beaten this poor outfit easier. A few contributors tho the pitch once again a disgrace not waterered slow and sticky. Referee allowing them to continually leave a foot shocking . Killie had no game plan just stop us playing so we need to get used to this for the rest of the season or we need plans B and C to address this . Onwards .

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