Rangers’ defence is far too exposed on the right hand side

Rangers’ defence is far too exposed on the right hand side
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 22: James Tavernier of Rangers celebrates scoring a penalty during the pre-season friendly match between Rangers and SV Hamburg at Ibrox Stadium on July 22, 2023 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

So it’s time to ‘tackle’ this yet again, as Rangers prepare for the new season in earnest, and we feel like a stuck record going on about this.

Rangers are deeply, widely, cataclysmically vulnerable down our right, and we simply aren’t set up to avoid conceding goals there.

Whether it’s the hapless James Tavernier who just has no interest in defending in his own half, or the absence of the ‘old’ 55 Ryan Jack who used to cover that side like a one-man stomping machine, Rangers are perilously exposed in that area and we saw countless examples yesterday as Tavernier lost the ball, found himself miles out of position and the right side of defence got trampled on because there’s no Jacko to cover that.

We have no one in midfield who can do Jack’s old job, including modern Jack who doesn’t have the lungs and power for it anymore and now plays a different position anyway.

So what do Rangers do here?

We only need point to the other side of defence, where Ridvan tightly covered the left side, both bolstering midfield support and also pushing against any attacks down his side. He got forward great, and even seemed to have a good understanding with Kieran Dowell, who worked well with him – both are left-footed. The midfielder helped cover Ridvan’s forward runs.

But on the right, Rangers are exposed. Tavernier left the back door open all the time, no one in midfield was covering that simply because Hagi can’t do that, and Raskin was too occupied with trying to block opposition midfield out single-handedly.

It’s an issue, it’s a real sore spot for Rangers. The captain, soft-centred that he is, doesn’t have the strength of Ridvan, and therefore Rangers will continue to be exposed on that side.

And teams have clearly noted that. Hamburg had done their homework, pressing Tavernier, forcing him into basic errors, and running the defence down. Only outstanding defending from Ridvan played some of the attacks offside and stopped a surefire goal here and there.

Are we saying drop Tav? It’s well on record that we don’t rate him. He doesn’t even measure up to his counterpart on the other side who’s 8 years his junior. That’s not going to change. But it also doesn’t help we have nothing in midfield to cover his marauding runs. We do on the left, Dowell doing a great job, despite being an AM, of covering Ridvan and supporting him.

It’s a double problem which could grow significantly when the serious action starts. It was bad enough last season and saw us ship quite a few goals on that side, but now that Tav is a year older, slower, and is said to still be carrying a knock, and has no Jack to bail him out, it’s far from ideal.

We’d love to get this fixed.

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  1. Totally agree he’s was so poor yesterday . Out of position continually and as always never aware of his shoulder side . He’s a massive weak link and it’s magnified when Goldson plays too . As for the right side midfield possibly Jack but more realistically Cufentes . It needs to be addressed before we try to qualify for CL

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