Debate – some Rangers fans disagree over Rabbi Matondo

Debate – some Rangers fans disagree over Rabbi Matondo
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 16: Rabbi Matondo celebrates with James Tavernier after scoring the opening goal during the friendly match match between Rangers and FC Copenhagen at Ibrox Stadium on January 16, 2024 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

There was quite a lot of hoohah on Ibrox Noise last night over Philippe Clement’s substitution of Rabbi Matondo for Oscar Cortes, over withdrawing Ross McCausland.

We noted it seemed a very strange substitution (not the first time Big Phil has done one of those) to remove the most dangerous player on the pitch and not McCausland, who struggled a bit.

Naturally, it all worked out as Rangers won, and that justifies everything Clement did, but it certainly ruffled a few feathers with mobile games with seamless payments.

The majority did agree with us that it was a strange sub and agreed with our assessment of Matondo’s display but many didn’t, and defended McCausland’s performance with their lives.

Indeed, despite Ibrox Noise pointing out the stats of McCausland’s below-average performance, many claimed he’d basically been outstanding, shift of his life, excellent, you name it.

Which showed us that biases will often overrule facts.

McCausland is a very popular player, and we’re absolutely delighted to see one of our own, a sort of youth player (signed at 16) break through into our senior team. We’re a little concerned he hasn’t really kicked on from his breakthrough, indeed we demonstrated in an earlier piece that Matondo, in half the minutes and less appearances, has assisted and scored more.

There were varying views on McCausland and Matondo…

When some fans claimed McCausland had been peppering the box with outstanding crosses all night, Ibrox Noise showed he’d only tried a cross twice, and neither had been accurate. This was ignored by all bar one fan who held his hand up and said fair enough, but he just preferred him anyway. That’s fair enough. But the ones ignoring the facts will always allow biases and subjectivity to rule their thinking.

Matondo also only tried to cross twice, and one was accurate.

One fan said McCausland’s ‘cross’ set up the first goal, ergo revising history and showing how unreliable memory and perception can be, given he clearly cut inside and hit a modest shot at Roos, which was spilled for Matondo to mop up.

His stats?

To the fan arguing he was outstanding defensively, he managed two tackles which is good, but not a single other defensive contribution. ‘That’s not the match I saw’ was the response.

Offensively he managed two good dribbles, two shots one on target, 2 key passes and tried a couple of long passes but both misses. Solid, but not breathtaking.

Matondo, on the other hand, managed one good tackle and that was the sum of his defending. Not much separating them at the back but both DID track back a fair amount – Matondo mostly kept to his side, while McCausland came more centrally in.

Offensively? Matondo had 4 shots, 2 on target, one successful dribble (many that didn’t quite come off) but no key passes. He won one foul. And of course, he scored one and should have had at least two more.

So what’s the moral of the story?

That McCausland is a work in progress, but we’d like to see some more obvious progress from him.

Matondo is ahead of him, and we remain surprised that he was the one who came off (looking bewildered as he walked off) based on offensive and defensive contributions, but that was the manager’s call.

End of the day, we can debate about the merits and criticisms of both players till the cows come home, but the win is what matters, Clement’s calls.

And we won’t argue with his methods, even if we might be bewildered by some of it.

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