The wrong people are being blamed for Sunday – and here’s why


 Article by: Derek

It’s been a few days since the big game, and it’s time to take a look at what went right and what went wrong.

Well it’s clear, not much went right and a whole lot went wrong; but for once I would not lay the blame on the players who played on Sunday, even though some had really poor games.

This defeat has much to do with the decisions made by the management team.

We have said it before at Ibrox Noise. All good teams have stability.

It does not matter how good you are, if you do not know who you will be playing with, it is hard (read impossible) to play an instinctive pass that breaks down an opponent.

For evidence, you need to only look at the 24th minute.

In a very uncharacteristic mistake, Defoe passed the ball along the box, missing all the teammates around him.

Defoe was simply passing the ball to an empty space where he normally sees a teammate (this usually being Tavernier).

Defoe is left embarrassed and the look on Defoe’s face clearly shows he was not happy.

Given how often the Rangers team has changed this past two weeks, the players really have done their best to keep things moving.

However, all excuses aside, when you play in a Rangers shirt you do have to give absolutely everything, even when things are collapsing around you.

Before we went 1:0 down there were multiple warning bells blaring.

At 23rd minute Goldson is out of position at right back position, for far too long.

Then at 31 minutes and 5 seconds the critical build-up to the goal begins.

At this time both left and right backs chose to advance up the field, and Kamara took over Flanagan’s position at left back, and Ryan Jack moves back to cover Tavernier’s move forward.

At 31 minutes and 18 seconds Rangers now suddenly have only two central defenders covering the entire back line, and at 31 minutes and 20 seconds Katic and Connor are positioned far apart, which is OK when we still have the ball.

Then the problem begins. Goldson receives the ball at 31 minutes and 25 seconds and he starts to advance up field, but the difference from most other times he moves forward is he is now positioned at the right side of the field, and the advance is quickly closed down.

At 31 minutes and 29 seconds he should have hit a long ball up the field or turned around to pass back to McGregor, but instead he decides to advance further and attempt a short pass to Tavernier, and the ball is intercepted and Celtic score.

However, let’s look at this goal again, and this time it can be seen the blame cannot be placed entirely on Goldson.

After Goldson receives the ball, up until the 31 minute and 27 second mark Kamara simply jogs slowly up the field, when a dynamic run across to Goldson would have forced the Celtic players around Goldson and Kamara to react to prevent a perceived attack through the centre.

Tavernier, likewise just stands on the line, and makes no attempt to run inside to give Goldson an easier pass. Again a run by Tavernier would have made it harder for the Celtic players to intercept Goldson’s pass. Both Tavernier and Kamara running at the same time would have created numerous passing chances.

Faced with a very strange, static Rangers team, Goldson chooses to pass through the Celtic team, and when that pass is intercepted, Rangers’ defence is suddenly cut wide open, with only one defender now defending the goal.

Even though Ryan Jack, showing very good positional sense had already noted the problem, and moved back to provide cover, the Celtic attack simply passes the ball between Goldson and Jack.

On the other side of the field, in sharp contrast to Ryan Jack’s quick reading of the game, both Kamara, and Flanagan (who had finally realised Tavernier was also upfield and was slowly tracking back to provide cover) were caught asleep.

Worryingly, neither noted the problem that was slowly building, nor did they show any sudden concern, even after the ball was intercepted.

And this is where I have to criticise Kamara.

After Celtic gain possession, Kamara, still in sleep mode, simply continues his slow jog for five seconds, and it seems he was still blissfully aware of any problem building. Then, only after Celtic slips the ball between Goldson and Jack, does Kamara suddenly start to really run, in a belated attempt to provide support, but it is already far too late to get back to give McGregor any cover.

So, the question is, do we blame the players? Clearly, they made many mistakes.

Usually I would say yes, but this time I’m not sure. As I said, teams need stability.

Every time a player is changed it takes time for those around him to truly understand where exactly he will be at every point in the game.

A second here and a second there gives the opponents a chance to exploit gaps, and with good strikers it really only takes one second to change a game.

Yes, we were not good enough, but this time I will stick my neck out and say the players this time were not to blame.

Even if it makes some players unhappy, and I’m sure it will. It is time to give specific players their jersey, and let them keep it, if they deserve it.


  1. Good analysis of the build up to the goal. SG clearly has favourite players otherwise Golson would be rested and Katic/Helander deployed in central defence.
    Biggest onus on our defeat though still rests with SG who selected Kamara, Aribo and Arfield despite all three having visibly gone off the boil in the last month.
    Finally I can't agree on any criticism of Defoe who had no service whatsoever.

  2. A good analysis of what happened but we also need to understand Kamaras thought process, he probably sees week in week out that in that scenario Goldson hits morelos or Ojo to stretch the field and move back into position. Gerrard played defoe and that's not his game (with no support) and well no Ojo or any runner means the play breaks down. In any case the ball should have been humped up the park. It was a poor lineup and suggested Gerrard either fears Celtic (god knows why) or he likes tinkering and needs to learn quick! As said above we need a settled consistent side. There was no need to change anything.

  3. The blame has to lie with the tactics deployed by the manager. With no wingers we totally isolated Defoe, as the midfield players looked lost out there, partly because a new system had been thrown at them in the biggest game of the season. Gerrard clearly felt we couldn’t go toe to toe with them which is fair enough, he tried to create a system to stifle them, but the players deployed to do this were all wrong, Aribo is looking increasing lost and disappears far too much for me and this has been evident for weeks, and on Sunday he was meant to be the creative spark, epic fail! Docherty would’ve had more heart and energy in there. Defoe does not do near the same work rate or physical work as Morelos, why he did not start was a howler! Maybe Gerrard should’ve had a word with Walter, when it comes to being tactically astute there no when better, he showed how to set out a team to be tactically aware and still have an attacking threat when playing against strong opposition. Your piece is spot on as I too felt the players did okay, other than Aribo and the isolated Defoe, they just looked tactically lost out there. Please Stevie stick to what works and don’t experiment with the team in games like that.

  4. Here's the simple version. Morelos, Jones & Barisic should all have started against a makeshift defence end of. The more you attack, the less you defend.

  5. We win as a team and lose as a team.
    But there will be a lot of uncomfortable people in that dressing room and includes the management. A lot of fingers will be pointed and rightly so, I hope there is a lot of people hurting and learn quickly from this debacle

  6. Article missed elephants in room – No wingers for an “out ball”

    Plus not a match to “play football” it’s a match to “win” – “up & at them” which Lennon did as Kris Boyd pointed out and was rebuked by Rogers!

    It’s that simple.

    Now we have to do it at Parkhead …

  7. You've clearly looked at the game, in some incredible detail. Kamara has come up short for a good few weeks, But Goldson definitely lost concentration. A thing he has been guilty of, too many times before. All i'm saying is we need to rotate through defenders and see what works best, for us. That might not be, Goldson automatically chosen. Tav definitely has a case to answer, I agree.

  8. I've heard some bullshit in my time but that beats the lot, if u have no options u have to hit it long and they forced us into doin that u certainly don't pass it 15 yards straight to an opposing player, you can defend goldson all u want but that has been coming from him,he nearly cost us against St mirren trying to dribble across his own 18 yard line and that wisnae the first time he's done it, it's bad enough no playin we'll without that happening.

  9. My ex girlfriend is a Brighton season ticket holder , she said he was liked there but was a bomb scare at times , no Brighton fans complained when he left , he had a heart scare and did a lot of charity work etc but it's not gonna win us the league, he needs to be dropped.

  10. Thing is, while I do not disagree with any of your comments, during a season, changes will need to be made, injuries/suspensions/out of form. It happens to every team (very rare Dundee United almost managed it, same squad week in week out) years ago but European football decisions scuppered some of their results). As a result you don't just need a squad that has (as many have said) cover for each position, you need even more so today, flexibility. Sunday should we are a long way off having that, overrated players or underperformance or plain and simple not able to step up and change when things go wrong, would also love to know where £7M or anything near it came from and how we might begin to pay for it if things go pear shaped this year? J

  11. The only good thing about SG's erroneous tactics and formation on Sunday was that it got him £7m from King to go and buy Kent. That's going to be worth more than the three dropped points over the remainder of the season. Lessons learned Stevie. Move on.

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