It’s pretty clear that the man of the match on Saturday was a Celtic player. That’s not the point of these articles though. There weren’t a huge amount of positives to take from Saturday. There were, however, a few performances of note which can be at least encouraging for the future.
The first player to consider is Ryan Jack. For the first 20 minutes, he struggled to keep up with the movement of the Celtic midfield. However, Rangers finished the half strongly, and he was one of the biggest reasons for that. Once he got to grips with the way Rogic was playing, he done far better. As noted in the ratings about some other players, he didn’t allow a slow start to hold him back for the full game. Jack is a player with plenty of experience for his age, and has played against Celtic numerous times. This was still the first time he’s played in this fixture, though, so he’ll have picked up loads and will be set to do even better next time. He’s made a good start to the season, and can continue to play well for a good while yet.
The next player was Alfredo Morelos. He was prone to getting caught offside in the first half. Due to his eagerness to impress, he wasn’t keeping the line very well. The workrate shown to hold up whatever he could, or win fouls when isolated, was excellent. He would have been frustrated with the lack of chances and defensive nature of our set-up, but never used that as an excuse not to give his all. He was extremely unlucky not to score with the header in the second half. It was clear Celtic seen him as the main threat, and focused on giving him little to work with. He’s a young player with a lot to learn, and Saturday will have been a reminder of how far he has to go.
The man of the match from the Rangers perspective, however, was Ross McCrorie. Making his first start for the club, in a huge game, he never looked out of place and had plenty of positive moments. He was clearly targetted by Griffiths as the player to put under pressure, and dealt with it admirably. He won tackles well, with one in particular drawing a real reaction from the crowd. His composure was evident as he was happy to take the ball and try to find a pass. It also looked like he has a decent amount of pace for a defender, as he never got exposed in that way at all.
Every fan loves to see a young player from their youth teams make the grade. When you consider the pressure on McCrorie, this was a very promising start. Not only was he having to step into the place Bruno Alves would normally hold, but he was doing so after being described as a future Rangers and Scotland centre half by Pedro Caixinha. No one would have been overly critical had he not played well. And yet, he didn’t just play well for a youngster and get a bit more praise due to that. He was clearly our best player on the day and looked every inch a good defender. It justified the decision by Caixinha not to sign another centre half. Even if McCrorie only gets a few games then loses the place to Alves again, the experience will have done him well, and at only 19 he has loads of time to step in and stay there for as long as he can.
Did anyone impress you on Saturday? Let us know @rangersnewsuk