We’ve been praising of last night’s performance, as there’s little denying it was extremely impressive, especially in the first half where the pressing and workrate was excellent. It did tail off in the second as the players tired a little, but overall few can be unhappy with what we saw in Govan.
Except, and you knew there was a but (given the title), there were two areas of discontent which mercifully didn’t get exposed which could, and maybe have already this season:
Rangers’ attack and Rangers’ defence.
It’s clear Rangers aren’t scoring goals – it’s just that simple. 6 goals in the past 6 outings simply isn’t good enough long-term, and Stevie’s failure to acquire a number 10 or a number 9 this summer has been a big failure. Midfielder after midfielder and wingers ad-nauseum but not one single out-and-out striker arrived in the summer, nor did any quality playmakers. This was exposed last night as all of Rangers’ opportunities came from the wings, and every one of them was wasted – Ojo’s goal was a fine shot but utterly speculative. It was by no means a real chance created, but he did exceptionally well to find the space and the net. As we said earlier, it’s a results-based business and for now we’re managing to get by on this poverty of goals, but at some point Rangers’ wastefulness is going to haunt us.
Despite Filip Helander’s impressive showing, Rangers were exposed a tonne of times at the back last night, and we can’t really understand why Nikola Katic was removed. Sure, the defence as a whole has looked shaky now and then, but time and time again Connor Goldson fails to impress and yet remains in his shirt. Rangers’ defence is, again, being badly managed, just like it was last season with the Joe Worrall nonsense, and slowly but surely we can see Goldson taking the-now Forest defender’s place in that kind of ignominy.
We don’t understand:
1: Why striker and number 10 just weren’t dealt with this summer. Alfredo Morelos had another excellent night but he was far from clinical. He’s not capable of carrying Rangers’ goals alone.
2: Why Steven Gerrard is so obsessed with making a mess of the defence. Just when us fans think we’re happy with a player at the back, he’s out. Or rotation starts up. Yeah, we’re lost by that one.
Overall this Rangers team has been in worse places – it’s not horrible, and indeed had a pretty overall decent night at Ibrox, but the little failings seem to be things the manager could fix – and yet just doesn’t. We hope one day these do not cost us.