We’ve not done a ‘things we learned’ article for a long time, so Ibrox Noise, off the back of a stunning League Cup triumph, wanted to offer a few titbits we picked up at Hampden.
Here are 8 things we learned in the League Cup final.
1: This is a manager who really can make a silk purse from a sow’s ear. It wasn’t pretty, but boy can he make this team win. The win in Spain then followed up by this qualifies, legitimately, as one of the best weeks in Rangers’ entire history. And it’s all because of one man.
2: Ross McCausland is not quite hitting Rangers level or the finished article at the moment, sadly. We’re not sure which one just yet but after impressing so much for 10 days, suddenly with the new deal he’s somewhat faded. He did little of note at Hampden (disallowed goal aside) and looked a bit out of his depth despite working hard. That said, the way Clement used him saw him coming central as an auxiliary striker as well, so, tactically, he was well-deployed. But for pure attacking flair, he’s currently not delivering. We hope Clement can get more from him in time!
3: James Tavernier is more than capable of being a sturdy RB, and his retreat at Hampden into more defensive zones showed that vividly. But they didn’t douse his attacking flair, as he popped up with the winner yet again.
4: John Lundstram truly is back to his best – he has been titanic lately, back to the old Best on Earth, and at this level, he’s absolutely Rangers Standard. Not that shocking given he’s a seasoned Premier League stalwart. Ran the show at Hampden.
5: Dujon Sterling was Ibrox Noise’s Man of the Match, inching just ahead of Tavernier. The RB-cum defensive midfielder has been absolutely outstanding recently, and who knew Michael Beale really did have a bit of an eye for a player? He broke everything up in the middle, and looked extremely sturdy. A very solid partner for Lunny.
6: A lot of players did NOT sparkle for this one – Cyriel Dessers was poor, McCausland struggled, and Sima was bad again – but as we said against Betis, the workrate and team ethic is what is excelling under this manager, so even when players don’t play their individual vintage best, the team as a whole is carrying them. That is what a team is.
7: The match was awful – Rangers as a whole played poorly but the weather didn’t help. Aberdeen also had no answer for Clement’s tactical switch from Pittodrie, and even Barry Robson admitted they’d been beaten by the better team – which showed how abysmal the designated away side had been!
8: The quadruple is on…