So, what do we want to talk about? A game with plenty of action, good goals and encouraging performances? Or the fact Pedro didn’t move much on the bench?
How about the poor performance of Pena? Is that more noteworthy than the excellent showing of Dorrans?
Picking out talking points from last night, or even the last week, isn’t easy. There was loads to be positive about, but as seems to the the way of Scottish football fans, the negatives can seem to be the bigger focus.
Let me get this out of the way, because I’ll be wound up about it by the time you read this. I like Pena, I think he’s got a lot of positive attributes and needs games and confidence. Last night, he was very poor. I make no apologies for still believing he’ll prove to be a good signing over time. I do accept that he has to show more soon though.
The biggest focus on the game yesterday was the attitude of the squad. With all the reports of unrest and the way Miller has seemingly been dropped, it was a real fear that our team wouldn’t be up for the game. When Hamilton scored in the first minute, that fear grew. However, we very quickly showed we were up for the fight. There was no shirking of challenges, or lack of desire to score goals. We were inconsistent in terms of quality overall, but that was more than made up for. A 4-1 win away from home is a good result, and made all the better in the knowledge that we could have played far better.
There was a lot made of Caixinha’s body language on the night. He never moved from the bench for the majority of the game, which is pretty much the opposite of how he’s been so far. Interestingly, after the game he said it was down to the amount of trust he had in his players. He also confirmed to Rangers TV that he’s been feeling the effects of illness the last few days. As there’s been a lot of noise about him being under pressure or losing his job soon, it was seen as a man who had given up. For me, it was a sign of yet more fight, as strange as that may sound.
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Pedro is passionate and positive. We only need to look at him squaring up to Scott Brown to see where his natural reactions fall. I have no doubt, though, that he was asked to curb this somewhat after last weekend, and it’s possible the players even brought this up. As such, Pedro showed that he’s able to look beyond himself and make changes yet again, as we’ve already done this season when reflecting upon poor performances. He fought his natural instincts and provided a calmer, confident influence from the side of the park. The way the team fought for each other certainly suggested that they’re behind the manager. The notion that they don’t want to play for him didn’t seem to have any truth behind it.
I’ve argued that a good number of our dropped points this season have been down to a mix of luck and quality. We’ve lacked both in some way which has led to a couple of draws and defeats. Of the 4 games we haven’t won, I believe only the Celtic game was a deserved result. However, that’s all academic if it continues, because it’s all about results no matter how they’re gained. Last night, we got a bit more luck, and we showed glimpses of more quality. Pena was lucky not to be sent off, and John benefitted from poor goalkeeping. Dorrans showed real quality throughout, and inspired others to good moments. We have a lot to work on, and need to be better in many matches, but we should be positive after that showing.
There are still questions. You could still be negative if you want to be. As I hinted earlier though, we need to ensure we’re not dragged into that too much. A strong win even when we weren’t great is a good thing. We move on to the international break with some confidence, and we can look forward to the St Johnstone game which will be a good test. The fans, the players and the board have to pull together, get behind our manager, and do what we can to make this work. If it turns out Caixinha can’t turn it around overall, we can at least say he was given every chance to get it right.
Tweet us @rangersnewsuk with your thoughts on the past week!