Last night, Rangers showed a real desire to win the game against Hamilton. Questions were being asked of the squad, and will continue to be so, but they allayed some fears over the 90 minutes. One man, in particular, epitomised that, but there were a few candidates for man of the match.
First up was Wes Foderingham. Whilst he will feel he could have done better with the Hamilton goal, he made some great saves. In the first half, he didn’t have loads to do. He dominated his box well, and looked to keep the attacking tempo high with his distribution. Once we went down to 10 men, though, he stepped up. His penalty save had the look of a keeper who knew he wouldn’t be beaten again. There’s been some noise about the lack of saves Wes has made this season, but that’s been two games in a row where he’s made a number.
With his two goals and excellent first-half display, Declan John was a definite contender for man of the match. He was awarded it by the pundits, but for me he was edged out. The main reason for that was his second half, where he faded out of the game. That should be expected from someone with his lack of recent matches. He’s been impressive and meant that the attacking play of Wallace wasn’t as missed as it could have been. John is a different style to Wallace, as he seems better on the ball in terms of dribbling and is even more direct. If he’s been identified by Mark Allen, as seems likely, it’s a good start by our Director of Football.
Both of his goals could have been blamed on the goalkeeper, but the play involved to get John into those spaces was excellent. With more games and confidence, we hope that John will improve even more.
Man of the match, in my opinion, was the man who set up two goals and scored the penalty, Graham Dorrans. There was a lot of speculation regarding Dorrans, and many suspected he would be “on Miller’s side” in the seeming dressing room split. He was captain on the night, and his performance typified everything about the way we played. He mixed moments of real quality with fight and desire. His leadership kept us on the front foot, and it was clear he wanted to work hard for his team. The pass to Candeias for the third goal was outstanding, and in the second half he showed moments verging on arrogant, his penalty the biggest of those. Dorrans has been the focus for a lot of criticism from some fans, but his performances away from home have all been strong.
This was a game where the performance was as important as the result. We may not have expected great football, but we needed to see a great attitude. Dorrans was the answer we really wanted to see. There are bigger challenges and questions to come, but both him and the team can take confidence from last night.