Well, there seemed to be loads going on this weekend!

Rangers 1 v 1 Motherwell

A disappointing result but I reckon we were lucky to come away with the draw. Motherwell won pretty much every battle in the first half and the goal to take the lead came from a well-worked corner (sometimes, you just have to accept that the movement and routine was well done rather than blame defending players too much).

This was the only game at Ibrox I’ve missed this season, and I watched on Rangers TV – I love partisan commentators, but they can certainly wind you up as well! From said corner, they spent a lot of time blaming Foderingham when it clearly wasn’t his fault. They were also adamant the blatant dive by Waghorn was a penalty when the player’s reaction to his booking told you everything you needed to know.

One-nil down at half time, and if we’re honest the performance was more than just poor, it was worrying. There was no real sign of a plan, of a way to break down a team who were organised and working harder than we were. Definitely the first test for Pedro.

And then came all the crazy subs!

This game will be remembered not for Foderingham’s cracking performance, not for Garner’s equaliser which was a cracking finish, nor for the poor refereeing for the most part which left Motherwell players on the park who shouldn’t have seen the game out. It’ll be remembered, and for a while yet, as the game where we played 45 minutes with one defender on the park and witnessed a second half as open as we’ll ever see at Ibrox. The difference in attitude was marked from the first half, we got the ball down more often, and we got some play started from the back.

But due to his great saves, Foderingham was clearly man of the match and, when that happens, you count yourself lucky not to lose.

The other games in the league saw that lot wrap up the league with a 5-0 stroll against a freefalling Hearts side, a 1-1 draw between Inverness and Kilmarnock, a good 2-1 win for Partick at home to Ross County, and a crazy situation in the Hamilton and St. Johnstone game where Richard Foster and Danny Swanson got sent off for trying to leather each other and 9 man St. Johnstone let in a late goal to give Hamilton a much needed 1-0 win. We also had Dundee absolutely capitulate against Aberdeen to lose 7-0 and put us 10 points behind second place with a goal difference deficit that may as well be another point.

And on Tuesday, a 10th home win in a row for Aberdeen saw 10 points become 13 before we play at Rugby Park. At this stage, with 8 games to go, it does look like second is beyond us. With no difference to the outcome in terms of European qualification, finishing third is no big deal. I’d prefer to see Pedro try some things out with the squad and know who he can rely upon or not for the start of next season than chase a position that may be beyond us anyway. Win as many games as we can, absolutely, but the bigger picture is worth considering as well.

Looking forward to Wednesday night, we travel to Kilmarnock with a raft of injuries to defenders and, with the line-up already announced, a couple of debuting defenders in David Bates and Myles Beerman. The latter is one most who watch the U20s have been excited by, and it’ll be interesting to see how Bates does as he doesn’t seem too highly rated by many of those same fans. Essentially, the entire back 4 and deepest lying midfielder from Saturday are all replaced on Wednesday night, and the experience of Kenny Miller will be on the bench – all of that would suggest it should be a tricky game. As mentioned in the last preview, Kilmarnock have been not too bad of late.

Celtic are at home to Partick and bound to win again despite Thistle’s good form. Motherwell host Hamilton, and with only a point between those sides and both in trouble of relegation, that’s likely to be a cagey game – I feel like a draw is on the cards, which would suit neither team. From our perspective, the game which probably matters most is the clash between St. Johnstone and Hearts, but with 8 points between us and St. Johnstone, the only real concern should be a win at Kilmarnock. That game can go any way it wants, and even despite their crazy situation from the weekend, the Perth side will be clear favourites. A vital win for Ross County against Dundee on Tuesday may just ease their relegation fears.

It would be remiss not to discuss the early announcement of the team by Caixinha. These days, leaks and team news days before the game are fairly common, and it’s rarely received very well by fans who feel it gives the opposition an advantage. Personally, I’ve never believed that to be the case (you’ll see international teams released early a lot of the time, for both friendlies and competitive games), but I can at least see why many dislike it. If the result goes our way, especially if we play well given all the issues with team selection, it’ll be quickly forgotten, but a poor performance and poor result will see many question the utility of such an announcement. I wouldn’t exactly describe it as either brave or stupid, but as there’s not much else going on and the team is so different from usual selections, there will be a lot of focus on it.

Here’s a question, though, from a wider perspective. Football is often described by players and managers as an entertainment business, something that should be enjoyed and supporters should be the number one consideration. With that in mind, is there an argument to suggest that fans should be told the team before they commit to going to a game? Would you go to see a film with no idea on the cast or director? Not very often I’d imagine, yet you’re expected to go to games with no certainty on who will be starting for your team.

I know that’s a poor analogy, but the only reason most managers don’t release the team details early is to try and keep the side from the opposition and make it as difficult as possible. That’s probably how it should be, but it’s not the best way to inform and entertain the fans. The desire to know the team early is shown by the amount of people who’ll look for team news and leaks and be pretty much impatient when it comes to finding out the starting XI.

In response, though, that tactic is about results, and whilst I’m not someone driven purely by them, most fans would seem to be, so that certainly argues the case. If it helps your team win, I’d image the fans would choose that far more often than not.

I’d be interested to hear how the fans have reacted to the early team confirmation, and how they feel we’ll get on against Kilmarnock – please tweet us on @rangersnewsuk with your thoughts!