As I sit here to write this up, I must admit that I’m still in some disbelief that Rangers managed to lose the game on Saturday against Hamilton. I don’t mean that disrespectfully to the Hamilton team. It’s more that the chances Rangers created in the first half, and the marked difference in performance in the second half, was almost surreal.

Rangers started the game with only one change from the last two games, as Hodson replaced Declan John at left back. It was reported that the Welshman was ill. Bruno Alves missed out on the squad altogether through injury, and there was no place for Carlos Pena. As predicted in the match preview, Hamilton stuck with their 4-5-1 shape which got a draw against Aberdeen.

Rangers looked to make a fast start, and in the first minute Josh Windass hit a shot high and wide. There were numerous crosses and blocked through balls, and it seemed only a matter of time until Rangers would score. However, one man summed up the frustration of the day, as Morelos failed to break his goalscoring drought despite a number of great chances. The first of those chances came from a good ball which sent Kenny Miller through. The veteran striker ran into the box and shot across goal. Morelos looked certain to knock the ball in, but was unable to make it and it squirmed wide.

The next chance was even better. Josh Windass, who had a good first half with his movement causing issues, played a good left-footed cross right on to Morelos’ head. Despite the ball being played in with a bit of pace, it looked easier for Morelos for score. Somehow, he got above the ball and headed it straight into the ground. He watched with frustration as it bounced over the bar.

Windass sent Morelos through not long afterwards, and the striker got through on the angle. His shot was deflected wide by the keeper, when it looked like a square ball would have gave Miller a tap-in.

Rangers had been dominant in possession, but so many crosses and half chances were blocked, and frustrations grew. Hamilton had a couple of promising situations in wide areas, but had no shots on goal in the first half.

A minute before halftime, Morelos had another great chance. A free kick was cleared by Hamilton, but played back towards the box. Holt crossed it perfectly for Morelos, but his header hit the bar, and McCrorie couldn’t turn the rebound in.

The feeling at the start of the second half was that Rangers would kick on after scoring the first goal. In the first minute of the half, Candeias had a low cross cleared, adding to the assumption of more of the same. The game would take an unexpected turn only a minute later.

Possession seemed to be secure as the ball was knocked back to McCrorie. Hamilton were pressing well, but there was no pressure on the young defender as he looked to play a ball back to Foderingham. Unfortunately, he hadn’t looked up, and the pass was short. Ex-Ranger David Templeton read the ball and was through on goal. He rounded Foderingham and despite Hodson’s best efforts, the ball crossed the line. Hamilton, with their first real chance, had taken an unlikely lead.

Rangers seemed to be completely rattled by the goal, and composure on the ball left most players completely. The next good chance fell to Templeton again, with his volley on the spin going just wide. The crowd were beyond restless, and some were even leaving the game before the hour was up.

Just after the hour, Morelos was unable to connect with a Candeias cross at the front post, another good chance missed. He had an even better one on 72 minutes, sent through by Miller. With 3 defenders chasing him, he never looked like scoring, and blazed a shot over the bar. His head instantly went down, his number went up, and he was substituted to end his most frustrating performance for Rangers. Hardie and Herrera were brought on for Miller and Morelos, and Rangers went to a more conventional 4-4-2 to chase the game.

It was the over-commitment of players going forward that led to the second goal. Hardie was unable to get a shot away, and the ball was cleared to Bingham on the halfway line. Hodson was poor in his attempts to deal with him, and the Hamilton striker sent Docherty clear. He squared the ball across goal and Darren Lyon slotted it under Foderingham to kill the game.

Ibrox emptied as the players looked dejected on the pitch. Despite hitting the bar through a Wilson header, and Herrera hitting the keeper with a shot on the turn, there was no belief from anyone that they would score, and Hamilton saw the game out with relative comfort. Even a second booking for Gogic was meaningless. With most of the fans gone, there was barely a noise from the stands as the final whistle blew.

There was some luck to Hamilton’s win given the chances missed by Rangers. Any team who misses such great chances can’t expect to win a game, though. The way the players reacted to going a goal down was very poor. There was a lack of personal and team confidence from most of the players in Royal Blue. Even the support seemed largely resigned to defeat as the second half wore on. History will tell us that games like this can happen, but the poor home form and sustained inability to string three wins together suggests something more. This was a poor performance where the players really let themselves down. The leadership both on and off the park was in question, and Murty will have a job on his hands getting the team motivated for Friday night if he’s still in charge.


Foderingham, Tavernier, Wilson, McCrorie, Hodson, Candieas, Holt, Windass (Nemane 88’), Jack, Miller (Herrera 72’), Morelos (Hardie 72’)

Subs not used: Alnwick, Kranjcar, Bates, Barjonas.

Yellows: Holt 25’


Woods, Skondras, McMann, Thomas, Imrie, Docherty (Gillespie 84’), Gogic, Templeton (Redmond 63’), MacKinnon, Raul Rojano ((Bingham 77’), Lyon.

Subs not used: Fulton, Donati, Cunningham, Sarris.

Goals: Templeton 47’ Lyon 80’

Yellows: Gogic 35’

Red: Gogic 90’