Somehow, the last week for Rangers has been one to include in the “just what is happening?” category. It looked certain there would be a new manager in place, and things would start moving forward. Instead, we have now announced that Graeme Murty will be in place for the rest of 2017 at least, and the fans now have no clue as to who the board are looking at for our next manager. We went into this game with the seemingly insurmountable 3-wins-in-a-row-thing to overcome. Off field distractions have been plentiful at Rangers over the years, so you knew there would be some sort of effect on the players.
When the team went 1-0 down, we feared the worst. We’d seen this a couple of times recently. However, despite struggling for good performances in the first half, the team did try to play the football that they want to, and didn’t lose composure too much. It was the attitude of the players which turned this game around more than anything else.
And so to the talking points on the day. First up, the criticism of the players in the first half. I completely understand the frustration when Rangers aren’t playing well. That said, we’ve seen Ross County be very adept at making games difficult recently, so we should have expected them to do that against us. Our starting formation didn’t work, with Pena and Miller often too close to each other and Windass having no room to run into. There was very little to be praised in the first half, but the negativity was a bit over the top. It’s too often written off as “part of playing for Rangers” when we as fans could all offer more to the team.
Graeme Murty definitely deserves praise for his change of formation in the second half. Recognising that the players needed more space to play in, he stretched the match and played with more width. The difference in performance from the first 45 to the second was huge. Often, Murty is criticised for his substitutions, both in terms of timing and player choice. In this case, he absolutely got it correct. Managing to get that 3rd consecutive win will also take a bit of pressure off of him coming into a difficult month.
It’s seemed like ages, but finally Alfredo Morelos got the goal he’s needed for weeks. His performance changed the match, and he’ll have played himself into the team for Wednesday night. In fact, if McCrorie is fit, I’d expect the team which started the second half on Saturday to start the game on Wednesday night. Hibs will offer a real challenge, as they have a good team with some skilled individuals. You’ll already have heard some say “if we play like we did on Saturday, Hibs will beat us”, but that ignores the two good performances against Aberdeen just before that. We should go into the game with some confidence that we will play better, and we are capable of grinding out results.
And that leads to the last talking point. The biggest issue Rangers have had this season is finding wins when they haven’t played well. We currently sit 5 points from the top, having played a game more than Celtic. When they beat us at Ibrox, they went 8 points clear. After numerous injuries, sacking a manager, and various off-field nonsense, we’re still 8 points behind them. The matches against Kilmarnock, Hamilton and Dundee, where we’ve dropped points in that period, were all games where we didn’t play well but really could have got some sort of results. This is the biggest difference between this Rangers squad and previous league-winning squads. We should take some encouragement from three points in a poor match for once.
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We go into a big match on Wednesday with the fight for second place quite tight. If we can find a win, we’ll be well set to go on a decent run and try to open up a gap on Aberdeen and Hibs.
Anything you think was worthy of discussion from Saturday? Tweet us @rangersnewsuk with your thoughts!