6 things we didn’t understand about Rangers’ loss to Celtic

6 things we didn’t understand about Rangers’ loss to Celtic
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MAY 25: Philippe Clement, Manager of Rangers, looks on during a pitch inspection prior to the Scottish Cup Final match between Celtic and Rangers at Hampden Park on May 25, 2024 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

There are many things we ‘just don’t understand’ about yesterday’s loss to Celtic at Hampden, and in this piece we’re going to rattle them off, one-by-one, in an article one or two Rangers fans may describe as ‘negative bile’.

So here we go:

Why did Rangers have absolutely no gameplan in that first half, aside a badly-designed ‘contain Celtic’? There was an obvious shape, of the 4-2-3-1, but the plan seemed to be about stopping Celtic while not actually set up to do so. There was no hunting in packs, just individual straggling, and the only reason Rangers, or Jack Butland in particular, didn’t actually have too much to deal with in the first half was down to excellent defending from both Leon Balogun and Ban Davies, by far the best defensive combo we’ve seen in a long time. Technically it did actually work, we’re just not sure what ‘it’ was. And we’re not sure Philippe Clement is either.

Why was Cyriel Dessers taken off? While we don’t deny the second half was better for Rangers, we’re not absolutely sure why he came off or why Sima replaced him, having never once played as a 9 for the club. Indeed, Sima has never played as a 9 anywhere he’s been, he’s not got the movement for that position, and that one struck us as very random.

Why did one of Rangers’ best players, Nico Raskin, get taken off, and see John Lundstram replace him? It was a staggeringly pointless sub, and Lundstram did his level best to get sent off for his second Old Firm in a row. Yes, Ibrox Noise actually rated Raskin’s display very highly, even despite wrecking the disallowed goal with a dimwitted foul.

This really is one for Clement; why did he bring on Scott Wright? Of all players in this moment, and he ended up losing the ball weakly which of course led to the winning goal. Wright cost the Scottish Cup, and in a major way he cost the Europa League final as well. He is a painful wart on the anus of Rangers, and he keeps getting appearances. We don’t understand that one.

Why did Clement aggressively push Cantwell to one side as if he personally had more right to talk to the ref than his player did? It was a real ‘diss’ moment on the playmaker and he deserved to be respected a bit more than that.

Why did Clement reject Barisic from the squad on the basis of him departing when 90% of the squad will be too? It was a very weird reason given one bad knock on Ridvan and Rangers had no one to slot in at LB.

We’re sure there’s many more, but that is quite enough for now.

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