A defeat always brings a huge reaction at Rangers now. The fans have had a lot to deal with for years, and as such patience is a virtue not on show too often. The emotion of the game is definitely the biggest factor when fans analyse performances, and that’s no bad thing. For me, though, Saturday’s defeat to Hibs was more just disappointing than poor. There’s a few things to discuss from the match, and subsequent reactions.
The biggest criticism during and after the game has been aimed at how Murty set up the team and reacted to the challenges faced. It’s absolutely fair to say that he looks like someone who takes a long time to make substitutions. On Saturday, though, I felt his starting team was justified after recent performances. In the second half, Rangers were really dominant, suggesting he had made changes which were working, and it’s not easy for a manager to decide when to potentially disrupt a good performance by changing personnel and shape.
The manager will always carry the biggest responsibility for a defeat. In this case, I think there were some positives on show from him that are being drowned out. Hopefully, lessons were learned and he’ll get a bit more luck next time.
There was always going to be huge focus on Morelos after the events of the past week. his performance wasn’t his best, but he certainly put in a lot of effort and was unlucky with a couple of chances. It’s to be expected that he’ll have a level of inconsistency right now. Some of that is being overly focused on from Saturday because of the bids and media stories. If this level of performance continues for a number of games, that sort of suggestion is worthy of consideration. Right now, it’s a bit reactionary.
THE MIDFIELD SHAPE
Hibs were able to expose some issues in midfield in the first half. The injuries Rangers have in there at the moment mean there’s not a natural defensive minded player available to play there just now. As Hibs changed to have Allan behind two forwards after the Barker injury, that became a big issue.
However, the dominance Rangers showed in the second half didn’t require a change of player. The team got a better grip of the game, and Goss was able to dictate the tempo. It is absolutely fair to suggest that starting Docherty alongside Holt and Goss may have helped first half. The way they struggled in that 45 minutes wasn’t just down to the shape, though, or they wouldn’t have been able to do so well after the break.
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It feels like years that Rangers fans have come away from games saying “we miss too many good chances”. It was a big factor to the struggles Warburton had, and even games under Caixinha as well. On Saturday, Rangers missed 3 or 4 really good chances, and at vital times in the match. Every team will have those “what if” moments as such, but it’s a real frustration for the fans right now.
THE NEUTRAL PERSPECTIVE
No one reading this is a neutral. I don’t believe games should really be analysed that way. What I will say, though, is that despite losing the match, that was an entertaining game of football. The game up here is quick to play down any quality or on-field excitement. This was a match where both sides played well, and was only decided by a poor decision leading to the penalty. As a Rangers fan, I was disappointed to lose it, but at least this wasn’t a loss that came from a poor performance or a capitulation in any way.
Rangers now go into the game against Partick on Tuesday looking to make amends for this one. The players have had a number of matches in quick succession, so I suspect there will be changes to the first eleven on the night.
What’s your thoughts from Saturday? Tweet us @rangersnewsuk to discuss!