Obviously, these articles are done to pick the man of the match from a Rangers perspective. After a defeat, that’s not always very easy to do. It was clear that Scott Allan deserved man of the match for his first half performance for Hibs and winning the penalty. However, that’s also influenced by the result. The way Rangers played in the second half was impressive, and the mistake for the penalty defined the result more than any poor performance.
From a Rangers perspective, I felt there was a clear man of the match. For me, over the 90 minutes, Jamie Murphy was the best player for Rangers. However, there’s a huge amount of debate surrounding how he played, and I feel that’s worth discussing.
I believe any player who plays on the wing for Rangers is somewhat overburdened by expectation. There’s a belief that players should be able to take men on easily and create multiple chances from good crosses. In reality, it’s a very difficult role now, and that’s why so much of the wide threat in teams comes from full backs these days. In the formation Rangers are looking to play, Murphy is being tasked with adding a pressing threat, good link up play and the ability to win free kicks. All of that is aside from his ability to take players on, especially when cutting inside, and the goal threat he has. There’s no doubt he has more to show at Rangers so far, but I feel his start has been promising.
On Saturday, a lot of fans felt he didn’t contribute much. In the first half, it was clear he was asked to stay forward early in the game. When it became apparent the team wasn’t able to win the midfield battle, he tracked back well and helped out defensively. In the second half, his influence was huge. His cross for Candeias almost led to an equaliser, and one later for Morelos was just a little too high. He beat the Hibs players either by cutting inside or going to the byline, and they were playing 2 or 3 defenders against him at times. He won free kicks in dangerous areas, and kept the game stretched for quick passes out wide.
Attacking players always struggle when their team isn’t dominant in midfield. The way that Murphy was still able to contribute defensively, then be a real threat in the second half, showed his quality. I agree with those who say he’s not at his sharpest yet, and expect we won’t see the best of him until next season and beyond, but I’ve been surprised by some of the criticism aimed his way so far.
Who was your Rangers man of the match? Tweet us @rangersnewsuk with your thoughts!