There were yet again more than a few candidates for man of the match on Sunday. If not for his red card, Ryan Jack would certainly have been one. Similarly, Danny Wilson was excellent in the first half, and would have been in contention had he not needed to be substituted.
However, the three main candidates in my eyes played well over the 90 minutes. This was a game which required a lot of hard work and desire, and these players showed that.
First up is David Bates. He was given man of the match by the Sky Sports team, and was certainly not undeserving of that. When it was announced he was starting in place of Alves, many fans became nervous. He is a player that looks more awkward than he actually is. It’s certainly true that he isn’t very comfortable on the ball. However, his positioning, strength and ability to win a header mean he rarely makes mistakes defensively, and that counted for a huge amount in the last 30 minutes when pressure was being applied. He did make mistakes on the ball, one pass in the first half in particular, but nothing of any consequence came from that. He tends to keep it simple, and play to his strengths, and that served him well.
The next candidate was James Tavernier. His driving run led to the second goal, and he done well going forward and defensively. The only mistake he made on the day was conceding the free kick which led to the Aberdeen goal. Tavernier has had a really good season so far, and performances like these show how much he’s developed defensively. He uses his strength and pace well to be hard to beat, and if he keeps his concentration, he tends to be one of the best players on the park in most games. His eye for a pass has also resulted in some lovely football in the last two games.
The man of the match for me, though, was Josh Windass. His goal was an excellent finish, and the run to get there was even better. He didn’t let the early booking for his blatant dive affect him, and never stopped moving. An excellent low shot in the first half brought out a good save from Joe Lewis. Windass linked up well with Pena, offering an option every time the Mexican got on the ball. His pace and strength has been allied with some better decision making of late. He no longer runs into trouble so often, and holds the ball up far better. His form since Caixinha’s departure has been easily the best in our squad.
When Rangers went down to 10 men, not only did Windass get the goal, but he worked even harder to help the team for that last 30 minutes. For me, he just edged the man of the match as he made the greater impact overall.
Who was your choice for man of the match? Tweet us @rangersnewsuk with your thoughts!