I left it a good 9 hours or so from the final whistle before attempting to sum up last nights latest “No Show” from a Rangers team, who players and coaches alike, promised so much before the long road up to Inverness. But the time lapse hasn’t made it any easier with regards as where to start? In fact, I’m currently under the weather and was up sick through the night, maybe I’m allergic to watching such poor displays?
Interim manager Graeme Murty made 3 changes to the team that lost to Dundee with Wallace, Toral and Wilson all given starts. Now I wouldn’t say Rangers burst out the traps, but they did start by far the brighter carving out a few chances, most noticeably Kenny Miller who bore down on the Cally keeper who made a good save at his near post, only for it to fall kindly for the onrushing Hyndman, but he shot straight at the keeper and the chance was gone. The ever probing, but unsuccessful, Barry McKay found himself unmarked in the 6 yard box soon after, but his header was akin to throwing a ping pong ball at a 50 pence piece, and the ball went well wide of target. Then it happened!
As so often has this season, Rangers collectively took the foot off the pedal, sat back, and let Inverness grow in confidence, with the impressive Cole showing captain Lee Wallace a clean pair of heels and firing a dangerous low cross into the Gers box. As half time approached though, Cally threw an aimless ball straight to James Tavernier who scuffed at it with his right foot and teed it up for an onrushing opposition midfielder. He laid it off to Tansey who hit a very good shot low into Foderingham’s right hand post. 1-0 to the Highlanders. Now at this point you looked at every Rangers player, nobody screaming at a teammate instead hands on hips with their heads bowed praying for the referees whistle which duly came.
The start of the second half didn’t see the expected arrivals of Joe Garner or Harry Forrester, but again, Rangers started brighter. It paid off. Captain Lee Wallace took a diagonal ball in his stride, but was up ended. Penalty to Rangers. Martyn Waghorn stepped up and smashed the ball into the keepers left, kissing his badge in front of the jubilant Rangers support. From then on, there was only one team going to win this match right? Wrong! After a few minutes of pressure Rangers did exactly what they had done in the first period. They stopped pressing and let Cally right back into it. So much so that the Highlanders had there tails up, with the impressive Cole and Tansey forcing excellent saves out of Wes Foderingham.
In the 86th minute Danny Wilson upended an onrushing Cally player who had stole in on his blind side, and was duely booked. Billy McKay stepped up but Foderingham saved wonderfully with just a few minutes remaining. At this point you wondered why, again, there was no sign of Garner at least? Then in 89 mins Wilson halfheartedly stuck a leg out in the box and the ball went up in the air with every Ranger watching, none more so than Rob Kiernan who had Billy McKay in front of him. He let it bounce and smashed an overhead kick past Foderingham. 2-1 Inverness with time added on only to play. That was when Murty decided to put on Joe Garner for the woefully off paced Toral. You could see the disgust in the Rangers players face while he waited to get on. Too little to late.
The final whistle blew and it was Murty and his post match interview that told everyone watching what we already knew. The guy is a youth coach, like a rabbit caught in the headlights, and I feel rather sorry for him. But when asked if he was still considering applying for the vacant manager job he said “I’ll assess that over the coming days, it’s too raw just now”. If he’d have said “No chance! I’m just trying to do my best until a new manager comes in” I would have had much more respect for him. Then when he said Toral and Hyndman were the best players on the pitch, and that he was happy with Rangers tempo, use of the ball and chances created, I was waiting on Scooby Doo ripping off his mask to reveal Warburton.
My good friend said he read a post on Twitter that sums it up beautifully, reading;
“Watching Rangers this season is like being made to watch a film you hate over and over again!”
Strong words, but apt ones. If Aberdeen win today we’ll be 9 points adrift of 2nd place. If St Johnstone win today, and again at Ibrox on Wednesday night, we’ll be 4th in the league! Last night we were comfortably dealt with by the bottom placed team in the SPL. NOT GOOD ENOUGH! In my last piece I touched on players desire and talent, but I never mentioned heart. Something that you MUST have to pull on that jersey…..we don’t have it. We don’t tackle also, or growl at each other, or give a team mate a slap when needed! It’s really quite gruelling to watch. Whoever comes in needs to get the art of tackling brought back into play, all we do is run beside other players without putting a foot in, or in Halliday’s case, fall at every opportunity.
St Johnstone on Wednesday. I’m going with my good mate as usual, but for the first time since 9 in a row, my younger brother is tagging along also. He’s always been more into engines than football, but I’m hoping on Wednesday Rangers will show up and give him the bug. Sadly though, I don’t see where from…..over to you Mr King!