A deserved bloody nose for Rangers and Philippe Clement

A deserved bloody nose for Rangers and Philippe Clement
Cyriel Dessers wasting another chance at Ibrox (Credit Rangers FC)

As much as Rangers fans felt a drubbing of some side had been coming, and got it in the form of the ravaging of Hearts, there was also a feeling that we’d been getting a bit lucky in matches with some wins that felt very much ‘the win of a champion’.

IE playing ugly, and scraping out the win regardless.

Our friends across the city haven’t been getting those wins with the same consistency, so the gap absolutely closed.

There was a feeling that we would slip up at some point though, that this bad football (because it’s been rubbish, let’s not lie about that) would at some point cost us 3 points, and that day finally came when a very-well drilled Motherwell deservedly took the win from Ibrox in a painful lesson to Rangers, the manager, and the fans.

To clarify some points, yes the refereeing was diabolical, but we missed countless clear chances and our defending was horrific, so we’re not going to blame this one on Alan Muir.

Liam Kelly was also having a good match, but that’s not that shocking given where he came from. IE us.

The fact is Stuart Kettlewell’s gameplan of bullying the home side, of pushing the boundaries a bit and aggressively coming at us worked, and it’s the first time we’ve seen Philippe Clement simply outclassed by a rival manager, whose tactics our boss couldn’t find a way around.

Of course he wasn’t helped by the countless wasted chances – Dessers, Goldson et al guilty of choking in front of goal, but there was a real feeling that Motherwell were worthy of this win.

They were clinical, they were strong, they were fast, and they took their chances.

It’s the first time we’ve seen Jack Butland look completely ordinary and that takes some doing.

We can blame the referee in some senses for not protecting our players, and Ross McCausland is the latest victim of a heavy tackle whose perpetrator should have at least seen a VAR review.

But that wasn’t why we lost.

We lost because we just weren’t good enough. The tactics, aggression, pace and quality all fell short and it was a full 90 minutes of the Killie first half.

Motherwell defended well, and that’s fair – we defended well against Real Betis. Also fair.

It was Betis’ job to find a way past. They couldn’t. Our job to overcome Motherwell. We couldn’t.

And it’s a big fat bloody nose for both Clement and the players, all of whom fell considerably short.

Clement got away with one at Killie when he made the changes he should have started with, but this time he had no answer, and having paid no attention to his post-match comments yet, we’d not be shocked if he’s moaning about referees again. Something he does a lot.

Either way, it’s a stinker of an afternoon, and it’s been coming for a long time.

It’s how Rangers respond to this that will define how damaging it was. And how ‘them lot’ do on Sunday as well.

If Rangers get away with this one, we can call it a get out of jail free card for sure.

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