In a subsequent return to player ratings, Ibrox Noise takes you through a man-by-man assessment at Easter Road after Michael Beale’s XI destroyed in-form Hibernian.
Without further ado here we go:
Unfortunately his age is keeping abreast with him too eagerly – a bit off the pace and while he was hardly at fault for the OG, he was still slow, sluggish, and unable to really impose himself. No claims, a single save, and thankfully, ultimately not terribly needed after that first 15 or so minutes. 5
A decent night from Tav who nailed the penalty clinically and managed an excellent 50% accuracy from crossing. He was also clean at defending, making few real errors. There’s been a little improvement from him in the last few matches. 7
Not great. Messy for the OG and while he still got a few clearances in he has had better matches. He’s not been terrific in recent times, and while this wasn’t the worst, he’s been a lot better. 6
He’s a carbon copy of Goldson, only he doesn’t dominate aerially like his partner. There is a lack of real understanding between them because they’re so similar. They want to do the same as the other is doing. He was fine, but that’s about it. 6
Another great display from the “Back On It Barisic. Lots of crossing attempts, tonnes of overlaps and tried to create in the middle. Defensively superb with more tackles than anyone on the pitch (6) and he’s just thriving under Beale. 8
Well if this one was anything to go by, Jacko is scrapping for his Rangers life. Absolutely stellar performance in both defence and attack, and he was absolutely everywhere, even nailing an assist. 5 clearances, 3 interceptions and a tackle while supporting advanced midfield, this was the best he’s been in maybe over a year. This was the old Jack, but even more dominant. Absolutely undroppable playing like this. He’s playing for his Rangers career at this point. 10
Bright, busy, and partnered Jacko perfectly, Raskin is technically excellent but not as visual – he’s very much the working gritty partner, but much more of a nuisance, a pest. Think Morelos at his peak but in midfield, annoying opponents. Did a lot of the dirty work in midfield but can pass as well – he had the best rate on the pitch. Can be very pleased with how quiet he kept Hibs’ midfield. 8
Yet another sumptuous and polished display from Rangers’ current best overall player, Cantwell just oozes class and makes this sport look easy. Offered plenty at both aspects in defending and attacking, and it’s absolutely remarkable how much time he looks like he has on the ball, even when a defender is right on him. Hibs couldn’t get close. 9
Won a penalty and was all over Hibs for the whole match till withdrawn, Ibrox Noise had to laugh at our ‘friends’ Ibrox News attacking Kent and using him for clicks at HT when he’d been dangerous in the first half. His working stats were excellent. He can be pleased even if he didn’t nail a direct assist or a goal. It’s the best he’s played in ages. 8
A goal and two assists, and didn’t stop running, maybe Sakala is learning to be less selfish and play for the team. Wasted little (aside some shots) and seemed focused for once. As a winger his night was close to flawless. If he was always this impressive no one would ever have a bad word to say about him. Only flaw was still a bit wasteful with the shooting, mucking up 6 attempts. But if he was on this level 70% of the time, he’d be absolutely one of our best players. 10
We’re going to be controversial here, and give Tony our MOTM despite so many other contenders and we know few will agree, giving it to Jack or Sakala instead, and we have absolutely no quarrel with that. But for us, for a guy out in the cold, been rejected for four months, going through hell, rejected for the world cup despite being one of the most impressive strikers his country has, he was absolutely stellar. He missed two bad chances, no denying it, but his brace was richly deserved, and he worked constantly. The contrast between him and when his ‘rival’ came on was ridiculous. He gets the 10/10 just for what he’s been through to produce a display like that. And yet, some ‘fans’ still don’t want him.10
Few of them had much impact as the game started to peter out, aside Wrighty who made a good run late on and won a corner. Morelos looked like he didn’t give a ****. Arfield just metered along nicely, and Hagi still looks a billion miles off it.
Beale will be absolutely kicking himself that he was too cautious to start this XI in the final. That’s now two matches since that Sunday with overall 135 dominant minutes, featuring outstanding performances from Colak, Jack, Raskin, Cantwell and Barisic, four of whom were on the bench that day. He has found his best team, and aside injury and suspension he would be utterly foolish to change a thing unless enforced. Sure, the defence isn’t the best with Goldson and Davies, but it’s what we’ve got for now. Goldson will never be dropped even when Souttar is completely ready to start. 8