“Remains creaky” – eleven things we learned about Rangers v Killie


As the embers die out on the opening fixture of the season, Ibrox Noise, having had some hours to think on it, conjured the following things we learned after grinding our way to a victory at Rugby Park.

This list has good and bad aspects in it, so anyone wanting pure optimism or negativity will be sorely mistaken. We’re calling as we see.

1: Rangers’ play hasn’t evolved since last season. Steven Gerrard’s team selection was surprising, but the tactics weren’t. It’s still slow and ponderous passing in the middle and back, while lightly jabbing at the opposing rearguard – very few venomous punches get thrown, and Rangers just lack conviction. This wasn’t half as efficient as the post-split wins last season, and way more like the stodgy fare we saw in the sole loss. Funnily enough at this ground too. It’s early days though, so let’s not overreact.

2: And alluding to that, it is indeed early days – whatever happened in this match, it was the start of the season and we’d normally suggest not to judge from that, but there’s two problems here. Firstly, the past three season openers have very much been accurate omens of that term’s prospects – the horrific draw with Hamilton in 2016, the struggled win at Fir Park in 2017, and the draw last season at Pittodrie were all vaguely accurate to how the season ended up overall. The other problem is that excuse of not judging can sure apply to friendlies and even low-level European football, but this is the SPL. So, early days or not, judging started today.

3: Sheyi Ojo is yet another example of a garbage Liverpool/English loanee who will have to play to fulfil his quota. This is possibly harsh, but we saw nothing today to suggest he’s any better than all the failures who came before him. True, Kent came onto a game after a similarly weak start, but not a consistent one. And otherwise, the loans were all simply trash. Ojo will be better sometimes than others, but already he looks like the wrong guy in the wrong team. Why do we bother with loans…

This team showed real grit at a legendarily tough ground. The play was not great, but despite conceding, Gerrard’s men held on to break through again. Some fans might be frothing at how poorly the side performed, but this is one of those venues where a win matters more than the performance.

5: And relating to that – which to focus on? The performance? Or the result? Would we like 38 torturous 2-1 wins all season, or some great performances and a ton of dropped points. We know what we’d take.

6: Defence remains as creaky as always. Kilmarnock got too much joy for comfort – too many easy lobbed balls behind the defence, and with better finishing they’d have put this one out of sight. We’re no longer happy with the Goldson Katic defence.

Ryan Jack is a shining example of a player who is expressing himself, keeping it simple, and keeping on doing what he’s doing. Sometimes he won’t have such effective matches – but this one was solid and he was one of Rangers’ best. Despite all the midfield talent, he remains consistent.

8: Speaking of midfield, what a disappointing debut in the league for Aribo. Struggled to make himself known in the first half, and did little of note, but did get more involved in the second 45 and two moments of class (and slight fortune) could have won the match earlier. We hope he takes the small amount of good he did and evolves that into his whole game. The SPL has swallowed up better players than he whole.

9: Jordan Jones will have been gutted not to start – and frankly seeing the tired Scott Arfield on the left instead of a dedicated winger was a tactical blunder from the manager. Arfield is a midfielder or a capable right flanker – he is not best-suited to the left and he shouldn’t be getting played there. Jones should.

10: Glen Kamara played no part in this, alluding to his mediocre form in pre-season. He’s just not been good enough overall, and despite being a former manager favourite, if he doesn’t buck up his ideas, get his mistakes crucially reduced and start looking the part, he will be on the subs bench more often than not. It’s early days (we’ll be saying that a lot), but despite his red card, we can’t help wondering if the exit of Ross McCrorie was such a good idea.

11: The run of stale Rangers form sadly continued. After such a bright start to pre-season, the turgid draw with Blackburn seemed to change things, and despite mostly good results after that, this struggled win and the painful draw in Luxembourg suggest it’s not quite clicking yet. We hope it does soon. We miss that clinical split form.

12: James Tavernier is really struggling with both Ojo, and the absence of his old wingman. He is ok in defence, ok in attack, but isn’t looking the flying attacking wingback he did last season. He has no connection with the loanee, and is relying more and more on Morelos to provide the linkup. He’s also, it must be said, picked up his defensive game a lot, with no one to cover him. And that’s a good thing. But today’s performance wasn’t up to it, and he hasn’t been up to it for quite a while.

Steven Gerrard has a better touch than the whole team put together.

Any we missed or that you agree/disagree with?


  1. Agree with all of it. Especially number one which is the biggest disappointment for me! – Gerrard for me doesn't seen to recognise he needs the team to be more penetrative. We will not get through a whole season with scraping wins and scoring from set pieces. It will backfire if we don't sort it asap! Good lost Ibrox Noise

  2. With the ryan kent to rangers seemingly dead now,the winger we currently have,more suited to playing out wide left for us is jordan jones.Jones is very direct and gives you that natural width,as he can hit the byline and is equally as good taking on his full back on the outside or the inside.He's got blistering pace and can stretch teams which we badly need in tight away games like today,when a team is playing compact, defensive football.
    Jones can get balls into the box for our striker and attacking midfielders to come on to.I would also think twice about letting young glenn middleton go out on loan to possibly hibs.At least he's direct.
    Although still far too early to judge ojo for me wants to play narrow instead of giving us much needed width.He wants to come inside most of the time.He also is currently slowing our play down.We need to go down the sides of teams who play very structured defensive football, like kilmarnock did today.
    We have to play faster and more direct as far as i'm concerned anyway.

  3. No. 9 – Arfield got many plaudits for playing high on the left for Burnley as a target man and laying it off for the strikers. Keen to see him played more in this area as the counter attacking outlet. On hand to score too because of positioning.

  4. Rangers came out for the second half and played the same slow laborious football as the first half. So I'm guessing Gerrard was happy with that. I was really expecting to come out flying in the second half after a rocket from the manager. But nothing!!! Not good enough.

  5. We weren't good today but it was 3 points but Dave king said hed give us all season ticket money for transfers around 13 million after tax , staff pay etc but more if needed , we've spent under 5 so far , all frees and 3m for Hellander ,Get Kent back , for 6m . This sports Direct issue has ruined us again . King said he would be transparent even about the little issues as he was a true fan too , so why isn't he saying anything about the kit situation, close brothers loans , easdales still having shares , him paying 3m to Ashley for nothing ?

    • Although we signed players on a free, there's still wages, agent fees, loan fees & sign-on fees, as well as paying Lafferty to release his contract. Pretty sure you'll find we've spent a lot more than £5m on transfers so far this season.

      It was certainly a gamble trying to rid the club of Ashley they way we did, a gamble most fans would have took too considering the club's revenue he was diverting to his company. A gamble lost and back to a mess however around merchandising. We've lost a lot more than £3M because of the Court's decision, not that you were suggesting otherwise.

      No news is definitely bad news with King/Ashley, as I'm sure if there were any positives we'd hear all about them. Puts more emphasis on reaching group stages in Europe and finding gems through frees/loans, developing youth and selling players on profit – all things we should be doing anyway to remain financially sustainable.

  6. Was the performance good enough? No. However, let's realise that we're already a point up against last season's performances against Killie over an entire season. I'll take a 91st minute winner, determination and character to not give in over last season's attempts to throw the towel in towards the end of games any day of the week. WATP

  7. NI do you still think Kamara is worth £15m plus.
    He slows the game down, makes plenty of mistakes. Yesterday showed why he couldn't hold a starting place down in the Dundee team. Mccrorie is a lot better player

    • Kamara didn't play yesterday! And if he did I doubt if it would've been possible for us to have played any slower than we did.

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