It’s safe to say Rangers fans weren’t terribly thrilled with Connor Goldson’s efforts against Bojan Miovski on Tuesday evening.
As the Dons striker beat Jack Butland to level the scoring, there was a lot of foaming at mouths with rage over Goldson’s defending, which was, in all fairness, short of the level needed.
But we’d like to put it in a spot of context – Leon Balogun, the toast of Ibrox fans these days, was left for dead at Pittodrie by the same man, Miovski, more than once, and at least one of those was also a physical duel in which the Macedonian got the best of the Nigerian.
So Miovski has the measure of Rangers’ defence, and has beaten for pure power both Balogun and Goldson.
He has also left them flat footed and exposed, and while Balogun was able to match him for pace, Miovski still bested him for power.
Goldson was done on both fronts.
The simple reality is Miovski is too big, powerful and fast for our defenders to deal with – when he sits on the shoulder and gets the run on the centre-backs, there’s nothing either Balogun or Goldson can do. The lad is too strong and effectively quick for both of them.
The real problem is how to deal with a striker who has everything. Goals, pace, power, reading – Miovski makes mincemeat when Rangers let him, and he did that again last night.
So how do you counter it?
Unfortunately, with Rangers sitting with a higher line these days, and pressing from well outside the penalty box under Philippe Clement, a straight lumped accurate ball, in this case from Connor Barron, can take out the entire defence for Miovski.
Aberdeen have done this repeatedly against us, regardless of manager, and it’s why they have had great results against us, literally until the last two matches.
The reason they had less joy in the cup final? Most of the balls forward were too long – Miovski wasn’t able to latch onto them, which made things much easier for Rangers, who also sat a bit deeper to try to prevent them using that tool.
But at Ibrox we were always coming more forward because it’s home and we needed lots of goals – so the Dons used that tactic to better effect. And the only defender who hasn’t directly faced off against Miovski in a one-on-one duel is Souttar, so we wonder how he’d fare in a pure power struggle.
End of the day, Goldson fell short, but so has Balogun, and fans are a lot more forgiving of the big Nigerian.
Miovski is, at the end of the day, a heck of a striker.