As we alluded to earlier, beyond the critical three points secured last night, two more events were even more important than the win – one we’ve already covered, the other was the introduction of Alfredo Morelos.
The Colombian’s second half cameo won the game – maybe not quite single-handedly (it was a wonderful assist from Joe Aribo), but his timing, his clinical finishing and his positioning were pivotal and without his entry deep into the half we doubt we’d have found that way through on goal.
For Jermain Defoe’s part, this wasn’t his match – unlike Hibs where he was able to pull defenders all over the place and create space, while finishing wonderfully for our third, last night he was static as Alex Dyer’s men stood firm and kept their discipline. There were no pockets for Defoe to move into, and defenders weren’t being pulled away from their spots.
So it took something different – something stronger and more dynamic.
And that is the critical nature of what Rangers have up front right now – while it wasn’t Defoe’s 90, Easter Road was, and that ability to rely on him while Morelos was unavailable is testament to the quality of both our strikers, and the varying qualities both have.
Defoe has been outstanding, even if last night he was unable to get any change, and being able to bring on Morelos as a different solution to this one is such a plan B to have.
As for Sunday, that’s a different ball game.
We backed Morelos pre-League Cup final to score, and despite a plethora of chances, he just wasn’t clinical enough plus found an inspired Fraser Forster.
So we’re not going to make any projections – just that we believe that if he can get over his mental block, he will score, and that’s on him and no one else.
But for the general season, having Morelos to turn to when Defoe doesn’t work is quite the option pool for the manager to have.