Rangers took first blood yesterday in the opening Old Firm of 21/22, after so much hype and build up. How did the players rate on a fine return to form for the Champions?
For his first full SPL match, McCrorie was outstanding. He wasn’t exactly forced into a lot of mercurial saves, but did make one superb block from Kyogo, and closed down magnificently twice with stellar anticipation. Looked like he’d been between our sticks for years. 8
To a man woman and child 99% of all Bears had full fear over the Nigerian in Patterson’s place given how wretched he’s been at RB previously for the Rangers. So, trust him to earn the MOTM performance for what was a near-faultless display. Sure, he didn’t get forward a lot, but his defending, apart from a couple of slight comms break-downs with Goldson, was literal perfection. Snuffed out Abada, Edouard, and of course Kyogo with ease and it was a masterclass in reading the game. Simply wonderful. 10
In truth, Goldson wasn’t brilliant – he had a few lapses where he looked asleep, and some of his comms were lacking, but he did manage enough clearances to assist the side. Did just lack with closing down at times. 6
Other than his post-goal lapse where McCrorie magnificently bailed him out, Helander had a strong, strong match and little got past him. His goal was of course superb, but his all-round game was physical and astute. 8
His antics at the end suggested this was potentially his last game in our shirt, and he bowed out with a decent assist from the corner to win the match. Aside that he was a bit subdued (albeit better than he’s been recently), with some below-par crossing. He did get forward but he wasn’t effective as he can be, although his defending was notably solid. 7
More seen for his defensive tracking of runners (which he did brilliantly) Davis was impressive as that anchor centrally. He wasn’t really strong for moving it forward, and indeed had a pretty low passing level of just 72%, but he made up by repeatedly tracking the likes of Kyogo and reading movement around him. A different kind of performance but a good one. 8
Shockingly dreadful passing level from Kamara, the worst for months from the usually-brilliant Fin. Looked a bit distracted for spells of this one, but did also do a lot of good work defensively with some good hounding and closing down. Managed a crowd-pleasing tackle too as well as a few glorious touches to make up for other shortfalls. 7
Yet another strong performance from the Nigerian who continues to impress. This wasn’t quite as sparkling as usual but it was still very good. His passing level was only bettered by Helander’s, and he worked hard to make things happen. 8
Ah this was a mixed bag. Kent worked so so hard, but his confidence is miles away. He showed up looking like he meant business but his decision making was horrible, his finishing mostly hopeless, and sadly he just didn’t seem to have any conviction. He did, however, try try try. And that’s what we demand. So we give him 6.
Probably the most underrated performance, Roofe’s contribution was absolutely magnificent. The Jamaican was everywhere, making runs, pressing hard, and digging in. He showed a superb all-round game of working, running, and getting in behind. Still a little off full fitness, his pushing was a major reason why Rangers won this one. 8
Argh, a mixed bag again. Morelos won a lot of fouls, but didn’t really have a lot of impact in Celtic’s box. A couple of shots, one of which was very wasteful, but his movement was good and he did work to get his team up the park. More of a team performance this one. 7
Actually his best performance in our shirt, Lundstram was steady and didn’t lose the ball at all. He benefited from some time out of the team, and seemed determined to impress on his Old Firm debut. We’d say he did. 7
While he wasn’t there in person, Stevie will be thrilled with how his men delivered his plan exactly. They destroyed Kyogo and made him impotent, and strangled Celtic’s attempts at dominating the game. It made the game open as hell, but was a tactical masterclass in stopping their lethal front line from having any impact at all. This was his finest Old Firm from a tactical point of view and we can’t fault a thing he did. 10