I was going to write an article saying Rangers are really different this year. They are stronger, they are faster they are fitter, and I was going to say they are now playing like a real Rangers team.
Then after events in Edinburgh I had to tear my article up and start from scratch.
Really, up to the match against Hearts we were doing great, but speed, and fitness do not a win make. It’s tactics, and having the players willing to go out and do everything they can to win.
Despite bringing in 11 players, to the surprise of many the core has remained much the same.
Just look at Morelos, who will be facing Luis Díaz on Thursday.
In Morelos we now have a world-class goalscoring machine, who is now so great a threat to Celtic’s dreams of nine in a row, the press is truly going nuts, hoping to encourage a buyer to come in and take him to another league.
OK, do you ever see the English press doing that? Being blunt that is the biggest compliment any player can receive, but, think about it, if we constantly ask others to buy our best players is that the way to improve Scotland’s co-efficient?…
Kamara also looks fantastic in the Finland team and Arfield is now a hero in Canada.
The real difference this year is no matter what happens on the field Rangers we’re always creating chances.
Ok we do criticise Goldson, but two weeks ago, his goal against Hamilton wasn’t just pivotal in getting the important second goal. He tore apart Hamilton’s confidence.
When he popped up at the wrong place at the wrong time (for the defence) Hamilton were left wondering who would track him. He ran through the middle, no-one followed, and he got a fabulous goal.
If the opposition get tired and cynically bring down one of our own near the penalty box, Rangers now can bring in Borna to thump the ball in the corner of the net.
If the opposition try to put two players on Ryan Kent (if he’s playing), it just takes one player off Defoe or Morelos, and if they decide to play deep, Rangers will just pepper the goal from distance, or run through at speed.
As you can see, the choices we have makes it very difficult for the opposition to know what to do, and that is something we did not have last year.
And that is what made Sunday’s match against Hearts so annoying for us Gers fans. This is because Hearts simply ran around like rabbits, and they unsettled Rangers into making mistakes. We know we can do so much better, and we have done better. In fact, teams run at us all the time, and usually handle it so much better.
What we can now see is, on the few occasions Rangers sit too deep, it has let the other team get into the game, and as Gerrard says, to win a league we need to be relentless, and sometimes ruthless.
And that now brings us neatly to Tavernier. Though some do not agree with our assessment of Tavernier, if Katic needs time out to help his development, then Tavernier is badly in need of the same tough love.
Though Tavernier is a great player, he has recently become far too predictable, and if Tavernier hasn’t realised this, he really needs to take a long look at himself in the mirror.
To see what I am getting at, I bet there isn’t a single Rangers fan out there who doesn’t know exactly what Tavernier will do as soon as he gets the ball.
So, if we know what he is going to do, the opponents also know, and that showed against Hearts.
As soon as Tavernier appeared at the corner of the box and before he even had received the ball, the entire Hearts defence were beginning to switch positions to get ready for his cross.
The result was no open space and his “pass” now almost always goes long and high. It’s almost as if he wants to hit the corner flag. I am now genuinely surprised when it lands somewhere in the penalty box.
Anyway, now that Hearts is out of the way, it’s time to hit the reset button, and get ready for Porto.
And I’ll analyse that a little later today.