Bloody nose for Rangers as Gio takes a beating

Bloody nose for Rangers as Gio takes a beating
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 02: Referee Bobby Madden speaks with Giovanni van Bronckhorst, manager of Rangers during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic FC and Rangers FC at on February 02, 2022 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s first Old Firm match as manager couldn’t really have gone much worse.

The Dutchman seemed to select a mostly-strong side, with the notable exception of the vulnerable Calvin Bassey in defence at the expense of fit again Leon Balogun (something we were vocally against), but the tactic of deep sitting and trying to soak Celtic up was a disaster in waiting.

To say this XI looked disjointed, confused, slow, ponderous and weak is doing them a favour, because they were a lot worse than that, and GVB’s tactics played a big role.

There was little cohesion in any area of the pitch, with the especially disastrous Borna Barisic having maybe the worst night of his Rangers career and doing little but losing the ball or passing it back to McGregor.

He was by no means the only fail. Ryan Kent certainly tried, but lacked any conviction with his dribbling, looking lost, while James Tavernier nearly gifted Celtic a goal but for the heroics of Allan McGregor, who himself had a mixed night.

The tactics, however, played into Celtic’s hands. The selection, while attacking-looking, sat in defensively, in a mode which simply didn’t work. 4 defenders, Glen Kamara, and 5 attacking players set out as a defensive unit simply wasn’t designed to work that way.

It was as if Gio was trying Walter’s tactics but with completely the wrong set of players and indeed formation to succeed with it.

It was found out. Sure, the opening goal was messy, but Celtic deserved it, and the fact Bassey and Aribo collided only added to the ineptitude of the defensive shape.

The second goal was quite a finish but one can’t help feeling McGregor was slow to it, and the third was just a shambles.

GVB changed the personnel in the second half, taking off the ineffective Diallo, the struggling Barisic but surprisingly the solid Kamara, but his replacement, Ryan Jack, showed us what we’ve been missing for a year with a brilliant and inspiring gutsy show in midfield, restoring some shape in the middle and stemming the bleeding.

Fashion Sakala too showed endeavour, and got more from his appearance than the Ivory Coast man, while Balogun should have been on from the beginning.

The damage, in the end, was all done in the first half, and while the changes did make Rangers a little more fluid and able to threaten in the second, it was too little too late.

Gio absolutely made a hash of this, and was unable to fix his mistakes, albeit he did try.

The players, in that first half especially, were installed in a system which didn’t fit them and which made most of them look absolutely hopeless.

This was a learning experience for our manager. He needs to wise up. 7 dropped points of 9 in the last 3 SPL matches is not champions material, and the new year blues have blighted him like they did Gerrard.

After that lovely honeymoon, Gio now hits the rough spell. Which we knew would come.

He now has to restore the form, make the needed changes, and get the side going again.

But the players must take responsibility too – too many hearts were missing tonight, with Arfield, Kamara, and Jack the notable exceptions – honourable mentions to Sakala, who worked, to Balogun who looked far superior to Bassey in CB, and Aribo, who tried to make things happen but was off the pace.

McGregor had a mixed bag, saving us from a worse score but a feeling too he could have done a little better with a couple of the goals.

Either way, it’s a big bloody punch in the nose, the scare we’ve needed, and we now either sink or swim.

Up to you Rangers.

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  1. Embarrising, that was worse than when we got beat 5-1 when J. Barton was with us. Diallo looks like a scared wee boy. Barisic was scared to do anything and just kicked the ball about like it was a bomb about to go off. Tav ran about like a heedless chicken, could go on n on. Wowww man.

  2. This was nothing but a fucking shambles. Wrong Team , wrong people again not delivering. They the rotten mob knew what they needed and did it in 20 fucking minutes ffs the Japonese player did the same against Hearts…we let him do it twice ffs. Barasic joke, Bassey Donkey , Tav their best player…Kent invisible pointless, Aribo tired and disinterested. Roofe ….Hello ????? Why Bassey ….Why not Balogun …Jack fabulous and so missed …Morelos need I say more . Embarrassing and inept. Over to you GVB …we must win this league or face the consequences

  3. I saw this coming a mile away. In December when the Neds the non educated delinquent Scots who voted for the double shoulder chipped Nicoliar decided to make political ground over a virus. They stopped all football games . Meantime everyone else in Europe was playing footy as normal. This game was a month late.

    Do not get me wrong Rangers were awful in the first half but this delay in games was caused by the absolute garbage of the ned snp.

  4. This was what has been coming for a long time. There is no cohesion in our side. A few bad results but with no losses left us complacent and weak-willed. A “stellar” transfer window where the “notable” signings were an injury prone midfielder who has cost us a £2million pound loan fee to his club, plus £120K per week wages, and a £19M flop from a very very poor Manchester United, let alone his loan fee and wages. Whilst Ramsey can’t get himself up for a place even on the bench after a flight from Turin on Tuesday, they have a Japanese bloke who flies in from Japan this morning and puts in a 30 minute second half shift. And our other “stellar” signing showed us why his club shifted him on. This is just wrong!!! IN, have you ever wished you didn’t post 3 articles in a row? The 3 before this one? My fellow colleagues and I are going to be the joke of the office in the morning from the couple of tarriers in there. But in GVB we trust. Lets not forget that.

  5. Couldn’t agree more with you IN on every single point you made. I’m feeling ever so worried that GVB might not be up to it. Balogun should’ve played before Bassey was his big mistake this week but there seems to be more creeping in by the week. He said afterwards that the players seemed unprepared for the Old Firm game but is that not down to him and how he set the team up. And would it have been so ridiculous for us to throw Ramsey into the team even if he could only give us 30 minutes?In his defence he couldn’t have predicted how badly Barisic would play. He played like a 16 year old making his debut rather than an experienced and established international footballer. The root of most of our problems came from him. This team has major problems. We are 22 games in and mostly we haven’t turned up, throwing points away and scraping wins with the odd goal. Winning ugly as they say but winning ugly rarely ends well. There seems to be a lack of ambition with our players who seem happy to win one league title. And it will be one because I can’t see us recovering from this.

  6. As others have mentioned this has been on the cards. No one i spoke to prior to the game had any confidence of a victory, best they looked for was a draw, I did expect defeat and being honest, I’m not overly surprised in the manner in which Celtic won.
    We’ve been scraping results for weeks, when Geo took over initially there was an uptick in the performances and a tweek in formation/style and I was filled with optimism, but these performances have been declining, that result against Raith Rovers should have been a warning, sure you could say the keeper had an off day but we should never have been in the position of hanging on in the first place. We aren’t great and we haven’t been for a few months. What can we take away from this performance? Too many players aren’t up for it, Mcoist used the term lght weights and I can’t disagree and I’m sure departures will happen, we shouldn’t accept inconsistant players, this is their full time job, If I was the same in my job, I’d get sacked, there’s no excuse and it needs addressed.

    Where we go now, I can’t say, everyone expects a reaction, a better performance at the weekend, we might get it but whether it will last is another thing. The momentum is now with them, we’re suppose to welcome the chase but we’ve been fearfully looking over our shoulder for weeks and when the chaser caught up we gave up, submitted without even a whimper. Anyway, we shall see how things play out.

    One thing before I go, if i bumped into a genie on the way to the pub tonight and he gave me one wish, I’d wish that the rangers scouting network shopped in the same supermarket as them. Rivarly and bitterness aside, they do have a knack of uncovering talent.

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