A critical Rangers juncture arrives for Ross McCausland

A critical Rangers juncture arrives for Ross McCausland
SEVILLE, SPAIN - DECEMBER 14: Ross McCausland of Rangers FC in action during a UEFA Europa League Group C Match between Real Betis and Rangers FC at Estadio Benito Villamarin on December 14, 2023 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)

We absolutely don’t want to focus on ‘negatives’, given the monumental win that Rangers secured last night at Rugby Park, but we must have a look at Ross McCausland and where the Northern Ireland international is with the club.

As Ibrox Noise explained yesterday, manager Philippe Clement is a master of defending his troops, bigging up the players and making them feel wanted, respected, valuable and helping their esteem.

This makes them run through walls for him, and he did that with McCausland earlier this season when the Auchenhowie graduate was starting to get a few ‘dissenting’ voices about his contribution, including, we admit, from Ibrox Noise.

He was bang on to defend the lad, and protect him from some criticism, but we have to now say, definitively, that the winger hasn’t progressed a day since he broke through, and in fact, arguably, is going backwards.

His performances lately, not just last night, have been completely passive, a lack of penetration, a lack of guile, safe passing, and no aggression.

He has been known to help out with defending, but even that was awol last night as the winger sat around idly, making no inroads to the game and keeping it all tepid.

It’s as if McCausland is too scared to take risks.

The sad thing is when he first burst through, he wasn’t – he played with freedom, and he did run at players, he did attack, he did show some guile. Sure, he didn’t assist, and he wasn’t beating too many men, but he worked hard at running and linking. Now we see little of that either.

If we look at the impact of Oscar Cortes, in his first few matches he was running, beating, shooting, scoring. At the same age, Cortes was in a different league to McCausland, and the Colombian became a model for McCausland to aspire to.

Let’s not use age as an excuse, it’s a steaming pile of you know what. The same fans saying ‘if he’s good enough he’s old enough’ are then the same ones saying ‘he’s only 20, give him time to develop’.

And Cortes clearly doesn’t need that time.

McCausland hasn’t come on since October, he’s managed very little in the way of shining performances, and we need a lot more from him.

He’s by no means a lost cause, far from that, but he’s at a point now where he has to start showing a lot more than he is.

He’s rather lost his place lately, and was rightly hooked after 55 minutes following a passive performance (not the only one on that pitch mind you) and Ross McCausland faces, for now, better options ahead of him in his position.

He’s the only one who can prove to Clement he’s worthy of that regular starting place again.

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