It’s never easy to pick a man of the match when Rangers don’t win. It’s more difficult when the game goes as it did, where good first half performances weren’t carried on into the second half. However, due to his excellent first half, there was one clear winner for Rangers there.
Jamie Murphy was the Rangers man of the match overall. Celtic played players out of position to try and deal with the threats Rangers had. Ajer was at right back to cover Murphy, and McGregor wide left to combat Tavernier. The latter had some success, but Murphy gave Ajer real problems in the first half. He was beating players easily, and linking up well with John.
Just before Celtic got their first goal, Murphy showed a real touch of class to turn Ajer in the Rangers half and drive with the ball. If Morelos had been able to stay onside in that move, it would have created a great chance. He had a great pass to John over the top which saw the full back cut inside and shoot. That was just a foreshadowing of what was to come, as a similar pass opened up the defence and led to the second goal. Murphy was helping out defensively as well, closing down crosses when the team was forced to defend a lot. As the half time whistle went, it was clear he was the best player on the park.
In the second half, Celtic seemed to change their approach, and it meant Murphy had less space to play in. After the red card, it was very difficult for him to find the same sort of passes. He made some poor decisions with some shots when a pass would have been better. This was down to his eagerness to make things happen. When you consider that he was carrying a knock, it was a good performance overall. It was more down to how Celtic defended that his second half didn’t match his first more than anything else.
The only other player who could be seen as a man of the match for Rangers was Daniel Candeias. Despite the fact he scored, his overall contribution didn’t seem quite as high. A lot of crosses were easily defended, and in some ways his game was more about keeping Tierney quiet than anything else. The midfield struggled to win the battles in there overall, and neither team can claim to have defended well.
Anyone else you think should have been in contention for this? Tweet us @rangersnewsuk with your thoughts!