How Rangers’ strongest team wasn’t Rangers’ strongest team

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GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 19: Cedric Itten of Rangers celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and Motherwell at Ibrox Stadium on December 19, 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The impact from 73 minutes of the combination of Cedric Itten, Ianis Hagi and Joe Aribo cannot be underestimated.

It was the clear changing point of the match, where a game which threatened to be a second shock defeat in a row for so long became a borderline comfortable victory.

If there was one flaw in the starting XI, an XI most of us considered Rangers’ strongest, it was the lack of naturally creative players.

For a match facing Motherwell who were out for survival, while hindsight is a wonderful thing, nevertheless the real lack of invention in the starting XI certainly played a major part in Rangers’ staleness.

And by this we don’t mean Kent and Roofe, who while being incredibly hard-working wingers, aren’t necessarily the most inventive. It wasn’t till Aribo and Hagi came on, along with Itten, that Rangers started to finally get behind Motherwell, to hurt them.

And there’s two ways of looking at this:

1: Stevie got the starting team wrong – as we said, we were a little surprised he didn’t consider Joe Aribo part of his strongest team. What’s more telling is he didn’t start such a creative player for a match against a low block.

2: Stevie nailed the subs and corrected his own errors.

That creativity, that spark, that ingenuity, had been dreadfully lacking in this one – obviously it’s hard to play against the low block, and you need your most imaginative players, and that all three of the subs scored or created all three of the goals tells you everything.

That Rangers have these options, and when things aren’t going our way, we have the players to turn it around.

Rangers brought on a £3M player, another £3M player, and a player who in time looks like he could be a real asset with a massive value. That we have such quality to go to a plan B is a real testament to what Stevie has built here.

He’s even allowed a mistake or two…

3 COMMENTS

  1. Think Aribo is considered as 1 of the main 11 but he didn’t have the best of games against St Mirren (nobody did) but we need to remember he’s just back and hardly had many minutes. On Saturday, he was a constant menace trying things, that as you alluded to earlier, none of the other 3 starting midfielders have in them. The difference between this team from that of this time last year is the options we have in reserve are now all potential game changers and we’re not relying on one man to come up with the goods. It’s another reason clubs should stick with a manager who they believe has a vision for the club despite maybe not getting the instant results we as fans expect. Where would we be now if SG wasn’t able to fully implement the signings required to make a sustainable challenge? I dread to think.

  2. I’ve been dying to park this IN sorry. I’m sure we are all so very disappointed that Hearts couldn’t finish the job to stop that farce of yesterday. It was a fraud pure and simple …they did not win the title last season , they did not do 9 in a row . . We win 55 and it’s all going to very quiet as normal service is resumed. Rant Over !

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