Former Ranger defends Michael Beale’s men v Killie pitch

Former Ranger defends Michael Beale’s men v Killie pitch
Zurich's Croatian defender Nikola Katic (R) fight for the ball with Bodo/Glimt's Norwegian forward Runar Espejord during the UEFA Europa League football 1st round day 5 Group A match between FC Zurich and Bodo/Glimt at Letzigrund stadium in Zurich on October 27, 2022. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

Fair play to the ‘Daily Record/Football Scotland’ for wheeling out Niko Katic to big Rangers up and excuse the weekend’s result at Killie, basically by blaming the pitch.

There’s a few sides to this argument, and we’re happy to examine what Katic said, being a player experienced on that surface:

“When I played there I think we lost and once we scored in the last minute to win so it was always an equal game, it’s a difficult pitch, it’s a slow ball, it’s a tough and physical team. The ball doesn’t bounce properly. It bounces and stays in the same place, it doesn’t go forward. When you pass the ball on the floor also it’s tough.”

He’s absolutely correct – Ibrox Noise can confirm we’ve been directly on Killie’s pitch and it’s like a carpet, it doesn’t behave like grass does and as Niko says, instead of the ball responding naturally like it does on an organic pitch, it sticks.

However, Celtic and Rangers have both won on this dire surface many times in the past, and Celtic, as we discussed recently, scored 5 times there last season without reply. So as correct as Niko is about the horrors of such a pitch, it’s not an excuse.

These surfaces 100% should be outlawed in Scotland but of course the incompetent governance of our game with a buffoon like Neil Doncaster in charge isn’t going to see common sense prevail.

There is, of course, another catch, another twist. This kind of surface is what new signing Jose Cifuentes is used to – it’s ALL they use in the MLS. So while our players struggled on it, he wouldn’t, and equally, it’s the same for both teams anyway.

So, as much as we appreciate the Record sticking up for us, and using Katic to tell us that everything is ok, it’s probably not.

But of course, a good performance tomorrow night and it all changes.

And boy does Michael Beale need that.

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