Rangers have lost form without Yilmaz, and Armstrong awaits

Rangers have lost form without Yilmaz, and Armstrong awaits
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MARCH 14: David Neres of SL Benfica is challenged by Ridvan Yilmaz of Rangers during the UEFA Europa League 2023/24 round of 16 second leg match between Rangers FC and SL Benfica at Ibrox Stadium on March 14, 2024 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Is there any real coincidence Rangers’ chronic form dip and results’ collapse in the past two months has timed itself with the injury to left back Ridvan Yilmaz?

Having last featured in the league against Motherwell, itself of course a shock defeat, Rangers’ results since the return from the break have been poor – scraping past Hibs, drawing with Celtic, and a host of bad or underwhelming scores with leaky defending.

There is no denying Dujon Sterling just isn’t a left back, and quite frankly neither is Borna Barisic for this club any more, meaning Rangers have had a real and stark lack of quality in that slot for some time now.

Ridvan had finally secured that berth as his own, was clearly leaps and miles ahead of Borna, and of course is a natural LB unlike Sterling.

Any coincidence his injury has coincided with a spell of especially poor form from Rangers?

There has been a real lack of consistency and balance at the back and if we compare goals conceded in the 6 matches since his injury compared with the 6 prior it’s 8 in 6 matches compared with 6 in 6 prior, but which included two clashes with Benfica as opposed to Ross County…

Indeed, prior to this dismal spell of form, with Yilmaz in tow, Rangers’ defence was a tonne tighter – look how vulnerable we’ve recently been early on in matches when opposition press at our fullbacks and we see Goldson, Balogun, Tav and Sterling or Barisic at 6s and 7s with each other.

Rangers’ best-possible rearguard is Tav, Balogun, Souttar and Yilmaz, and the manager refused to ever select it, sticking with Goldson, creating a key weakness.

But despite that weakness, it was a tonne tighter with the Turk than it has been with either Sterling or Barisic.

And the results have shown that.

His likely absence on Sunday won’t help Rangers shore that problem up, unfortunately, and Danny Armstrong, Killie’s danger man on that side, is going to have a potential field day against either Borna or Sterling.

He’s the assist king of the SPL, and he’s been very very good this campaign, terrorising LBs up and down the league.

Barisic stands no chance there, and Sterling isn’t naturally equipped for it.

Armstrong could be a real Trojan horse for Killie unless Rangers can magically get Ridvan fit for it.

Probably not.

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