The performance against Hearts on Saturday was among the best Rangers have produced all season. The attacking play was impressive, and the defending assured throughout. Against the side with the second best defensive record in the league, Rangers scored twice and should have had a few more. Here are my opinions on how the players rated.
WES FODERINGHAM – 7
Foderingham made two good saves in the first half, then never really had a lot to do. Hearts were putting in dangerous set pieces, which caused a little panic, but never really created chances. The saves from Lafferty and Callachan were from shots outside the box, and dealt with well. In the first half, some of Foderingham’s distribution was a little loose. That was quickly sorted, and he had a solid match.
JAMES TAVERNIER – 8
Tavernier kept the armband as he led the team out for the third game in a row. And yet again, he was instrumental in a good performance. It was his composure on the ball which helped create the space for the goals. There were also some good free kicks played into the box, and a few nice crosses. In terms of defending, Tavernier didn’t have an awful lot to do, and never seemed stretched. His leadership and encouragement kept the team motivated, and he was disciplined when speaking to the referee about any concerns.
RUSSELL MARTIN – 8
Martin scored the second goal with only minutes to go, and was good throughout. He looked to play the ball into a midfielder quickly from the back, keeping the tempo high. In the second half, he got involved in a few attacks, with runs from defence or by staying up after a set piece. The attacking threat from Hearts wasn’t too high, and Lafferty was kept quiet in the main. The only real concern would have been a couple of lost headers at set pieces, but those came to nothing.
DAVID BATES – 7
Bates was a little stretched by Lafferty’s runs in the first 20 minutes, but after that he had no issues at all. Like Martin, he kept the ball moving quickly. He also had a couple of good chances from set pieces, with one header in particular going just over. A relatively quiet match for Bates, but one where he showed yet more of how he’s developing.
DECLAN JOHN – 8
John made loads of great runs, and linked up really well with Murphy. He was unlucky not to end the match with at least one assist due to his crosses. From many of his forward runs, he won fouls in dangerous areas and made space for players to run into. With Lee Wallace back in training, John is showing that he’s more than capable of keeping his spot at left back.
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GREG DOCHERTY – 9
This was the first home start for Docherty. After the Hamilton game, a lot was made of Murty’s comments on his performance. The decision was made to keep him in the starting line up, and it was proven to be spot on. Docherty was excellent in everything he done, from winning possession, driving forward on the ball, finding passes and getting shots on goal. His pass for Murphy to open the scoring was lovely, with everyone expecting him to shoot. He was unlucky not to score with a couple of efforts himself, drawing good saves from McLaughlin. Most impressive, though, was his maturity on the ball, and the way he was able to defend without diving in at any point. A very exciting prospect based upon this evidence.
SEAN GOSS – 8
With Hearts not really pressing the game high up the pitch, Goss was able to dictate the entire tempo of the match. His passing and touch was spot on, and he had a couple of good efforts on goal well saved. He continually spotted runs early, and was a little unlucky with some of the passes to find them. Rangers fans are very hopeful that a deal can be done for Goss in the summer.
DANIEL CANDEIAS – 9
The energy, touch and desire of Daniel Candeias was outstanding in this match. Very early in the game, Murty asked him to play a bit higher and leave Tavernier to defend against Mitchell. This meant that Berra had to deal with Candeias, and the winger gave him problems all game. It was his cross that led to the second goal, and a few other crosses were close to finding their mark. The way that Candeias pressed the ball kept Rangers on the front foot, and his running when on the counter could have led to another couple of goals.
JOSH WINDASS – 6
It just wasn’t a good day for Windass. There were some moments of quality, such as a great through ball for Murphy or a lovely use of the body to beat a player. However, he missed 2 outstanding chances, and a couple of others he could have done better with. The biggest miss, from his great run which saw him and Candeias counter from their own box, was one he’ll be very annoyed about still. His effort and desire to be involved in the game never dipped, but he didn’t show the impressive goalscoring form of late.
JAMIE MURPHY – 9
Not only was Murphy’s goal an excellent finish, he was a constant problem for the Hearts defence with his movement. Not long before his goal, he had dragged a shot just wide. In the second half, he created chances for others and had a good effort saved. Rangers were impressive going forward, and Murphy was one of the main reasons for that throughout the match. His intelligence and ability really shone through, and it was a great moment to see him score his first Ibrox goal.
ALFREDO MORELOS – 6
Much like Windass, Morelos wasn’t able to maintain the form he’s shown of late. Hearts set up with three centre halves, which seemed to kill the space for Morelos to play in. His workrate and link up was good, and could have led to a couple of assists. Of the shots he did get away, most were easily blocked or saved. As always, he put in a real shift, and never let his head go down.
JASON CUMMINGS – 4
Cummings replaced Morelos after 73 minutes. He worked hard, trying to stretch the game by getting behind the Hearts defence. His movement allowed the space for Candeias to cross and led to the second goal. He was lucky only to be booked for a daft foul towards the end, though.
JASON HOLT – 3
Replaced Docherty as it seemed the young midfielder picked up a knock. Provided good energy when most required, and was involved in some attacking play which led to chances.
Any ratings you disagree with? Tweet us @rangersnewsuk with your thoughts!