As Ibrox Noise’s Derek discussed, something changed at half time on Wednesday – something which led to a much stronger second half and ultimately a pretty well-deserved win, even if the first 45 had laboured badly.
And we’re going to go further this morning on the whole shebang:
The tactical change since the new year.
Yes, it’s not just the unnecessary rotation between Celtic then Stranraer which hurt us, it’s the change in formation which was finally abandoned in the second 45 earlier this week.
In short, Rangers haven’t been playing 4-3-3 in 2020, they’ve played 4-3-2-1 – and it absolutely hasn’t worked.
Instead of Aribo wide right and Kent wide left, they’ve both actually played as central 10s, behind Alfredo Morelos (or Defoe).
And it’s safe to say neither of these players has adapted well to being part of a interchanging partnership with another player.
As Derek said, because they’ve been playing this way, Rangers have struggled to just get men in the box – rarely more than 3 at once. All too slow, all too ponderous, with attacking players dancing around the edge of the box, struggling to link up or penetrate.
Indeed, the winning goal on Wednesday was secured once Kent had been withdrawn with Jordan Jones on in his place – and what we observed was how tightly he hugged the touchline at all times.
He wasn’t playing as a 10, he played as a winger, and while his impact was arguably negligible, his positioning helped the shape of the team appear much more like the proper 4-3-3 which allows Rangers to intensely load the opposition half (box especially) and high press.
Once that tactical shift took place, that tactical shift back to the formation which worked so well late last year, suddenly Rangers looked faster, more aggressive, and far more like a team trying to score by pure pressure.
It wasn’t sand dancing around the box any more, or hopeful balls into the box for, at best, one head, this was non-stop attacking with a load up front which finally saw Hibs crack.
4-3-2-1 does not work – not for Rangers – we’ve tried it for 5 and a half matches this year and it failed – only once it reverted did we look a bit like us again.
Don’t change what isn’t broke, Stevie!