A look back at what’s been happening at Rangers over the last week with Richard Fillingham.
St Mirren have signed Lee Hodson on a-year-loan-deal. He knew his chances of starting were slim with James Tavernier, Jon Flanagan, Borna Barisic and Lee Wallace all in front of him.
21-year-old Greg Docherty said his loan stint with Shrewsbury is a springboard to get back into Gerrard’s Rangers plans. He has started the last five fixtures.
Jason Holt started in Fleetwood Town’s 2-2 home draw with Rochdale last Saturday, making his third appearance this season. He scored a goal in their 1-1 EFL Cup draw with Crewe.
An agreement was reached between Rangers and Birkirkara from Malta, for left-back Myles Beerman to join on a season-long loan. 19-year-old Beerman has already made eight first team appearances, so sending him out for experience, is a good idea.
On Wednesday, Joe Dodoo on loan from Rangers to Blackpool played against Coventry, scored the Tangerines’ second goal, played well and was a threat all night.
A bright start to the week
Rangers Development Squad began their Reserve League campaign with a 2-1 win over Queen of the South. They came away from Dumfries with three points with Andy Dallas scoring twice.
Borna Barisic is back in the Croatia squad to play against Portugal on Thursday 6 September. He said he could retain his place when signing for a top team like Rangers – looks like he was right.
After only two games Kenny Miller was replaced as player-boss of Livingston. Miller wants to keep playing, and they asked him to be the full-time manager. The parting deemed amicable.
Documents lodged at Companies House confirmed today the appointment of Danish investor Julian Wolhardt. The Hong Kong-based businessman bought £1m of Mike Ashley ‘s shares in the club along with fans’ group Club 1872, and has now been appointed as a director of the Rangers board. His investment last summer was described as “exciting for the club”.
The Rangers chairman said, “Wolhardt’s business acumen is exceptional and it’s pleasing that its strategy has convinced him of our financial prospects and the merits of our business plan”.
A big Wednesday
Unlucky Jamie Murphy will miss the season due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury. It’s a complete tear which brings pain, instability of the knee and joint swelling.
Gerrard signs Kyle Lafferty on a two-year-deal and is included in tomorrow night’s squad. He featured in Euro 2016, has previously played for the ‘Gers, Burnley, Swiss side Sion, Italian club Palermo, Norwich and Hearts. Lafferty is the 12th new player to be brought to Ibrox this season.
Neil Lennon is not convinced that Rangers are that good. The Hibs boss can’t see what the fuss is about, but the success against three quality Europa League side might have made him come to a completely correct conclusion. He is adamant that Celtic will win the league. Unbiased or what?
Thursday night: Rangers v FC Ufa
Starting line-up. McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Katic, Flanagan; Jack, Ejaria, Arfield; Candeias, Morelos, Kent;
Subs: Lafferty, McCrorie, Sadiq, Middleton, Halliday, Foderingham,
The 1-0 result will have us all nervous next Thursday in Russia. Does Gerrard play defensively for an 0-0 draw, or does he stick with the way they played against Maribor?
Ovie Ejaria was my MOTM. His passing, dribbling skills and work rate were excellent. I thought that Ryan Kent did better than normal.
Connor Goldson anticipated the parry from their 6’ 5” goalkeeper to score the winner. Alfredo Morelos got rough treatment and led the line brilliantly, and was unlucky not to score. Daniel Candeias worked his socks off all night.
Nikola Katic backed Goldson up superbly and was another success. Jon Flanagan didn’t have one of his better games, but was solid enough. James Tavernier wasn’t as influential as normal, but did alright. What can you say about Allan McGregor – different class.
Ryan Jack is a revitalised player under Gerrard’s guidance and did well again. I am a fan of the hard working Scott Arfield, whose running off the ball installs confidence to his fellow players.
Kyle Lafferty raised the roof with his welcome back reaction. He contributed when he came on, a pity he didn’t score. Young Glenn Middleton was explosive when he replaced Kent tor the last 12 minutes or so. He ran riot against their right back with his direct wing play, I’d like to see more cameo performances from him.
No rest for the wicked; Friday
I was surprised to see the players were back at training after their exertions last night. But seemingly they were working out their team formation against Motherwell this Sunday.
Motherwell v Rangers:
This began as one of the most exciting, exhilarating, electrifying games you will see in the SPFL league. It was an absolutely pulsating first 45 minutes of end to end football and produced five goals in the process.
Played like an old-fashioned cup tie, it was certainly entertaining. Well done to both sides and managers for generating 3-2 to Rangers, in a first half of epic proportions. If more games were of this standard, it would be a real shot in the arm for greater TV money to be paid.
The second half started the same way as the first, and made the spectator wonder if the players could keep this unbelievable pace up for 90 minutes. The answer was a definite yes.
To be fair to the Steelmen of Lanarkshire, they were relentless in their attacks. The heavy schedule of the Europa and League games caught up with Rangers in the last 15 minutes.
Motherwell dominated much of the second half, as they chased the game. They just deserved their well-earned, hard-fought point when scoring from a corner, with the last kick of the ball.
In the 94th minute, the constantly fouling Peter Hartley bundled the ball in from a corner to earn his side a point. Gerrard lamented the set-piece failings to deny the Ibrox side all three points.
Rangers lost their goals from two set pieces and an unfortunate slip from the normally reliable Connor Goldson. A real stalwart in the Ibrox club’s defence in every game, and with that blip, he flipped from ‘Magic to tragic’.
It was uncharacteristic of Mr Reliable to put a foot wrong, and James Tavernier produced one his poorest defensive performances, which didn’t help the Rangers’ cause.
It was similar to the Aberdeen game on the opening day, when the Light Blues were pegged back in the 93rd minute and today it was the 94th minute, unfortunate to say the least.
Kyle Lafferty was my ‘Man of the Match’ in his first start of his new Rangers career, but it was his overall display that impressed everyone with a solid performance throughout.
He fought, competed for all the high balls and took his two goals with aplomb. He led the line brilliantly and his passing was exceptional. He will be a huge asset this season.
The league season hasn’t truly lit up for Rangers following two draws in three matches.
Here are my player ratings.
McGregor 7, Tavernier 4, Goldson 5, Katic 7, Flanagan 6, Barisic 7.5, Jack 7.5, Halliday 7, Ejaria 8, Morelos, 7.5 and Lafferty 9.