Rangers today won their second proper pre-season match (we barely count the training exercise that was Partick) at Bloomfield against hosts Blackpool, and while the win was of course welcome, the performance was simply modest.
While marginally improved fitness compared with the Sunderland half was evident, the visitors were still behind their opponents in terms of movement, pace, and general energy levels, albeit not as dramatically, and Gio has just two full weeks to knock his lads into shape and have them ready for the shock upturn in demand that the CL qualifiers and SPL opener will have.
Substitute Rabbi Matondo was impressive, showing his pace quite effectively, and surprising a few onlookers we’re sure with a lot more upper body strength than he’s been given credit for. While he’s hardly a beef mountain, he’s no wimp, and will be able to hold his own. He looks one to watch for sure.
The other flank saw Tom Lawrence make his debut also as a sub, but the Wales international looked off the pace and made little impression. He’ll need to get some milage into his legs. And Colak looked sharp even if he was unlucky with an offside goal.
Defence, was however, the most concerning.
It was good to see John Souttar make his proper debut, but the backline was porous throughout and there appeared to be little understanding between any of the pairings, and that applied to the 45 v Sunderland as well, with Goldson and Katic repeatedly bypassed.
This time it was Goldson and Sands who looked a bit lost.
The disclaimer is always how these are the matches to make these errors in, and that’s absolutely right, but making so many mistakes in these matches is not great for morale and time is running out to iron such errors out.
We’re absolutely sure Gio will have it sorted for the real action, but there’s no question the next 14 days are crucial for progress and getting more and more match ready by the time the serious business kicks off.
We’d like to see how we’ve evolved by the time we face West Ham on Tuesday, albeit that is only a few days away.
In Gio we Trust, as always.