Rangers win against Dundee on Saturday had a few notable talking points to discuss.
First up, there was the concession by Caixinha that he never quite set the team up correctly in the first half. It’s good to see that a manager is willing to be self-critical. Many after a 4-1 win, where the team should have scored more, would just point to the result as justification for everything they done. Caixinha is clearly more analytical than that, and is trying to achieve a very high level of performance. He asked Dorrans to get forward and it left Jack a little exposed. Despite that, Foderingham never had a save to make. Dundee only made two real chances when the game was in the balance. It’s promising to see that our manager won’t be prone to just accepting easy praise.
That leads nicely into the next talking point. As I was unable to attend the game, I was able to read a lot of the fan reaction before seeing anything to make judgements on myself. There was a real mixed bag of opinions. Many felt the first half was poor. Niko Kranjcar and Kenny Miller came in for a lot of criticism. Graham Dorrans was described as anonymous. Whilst some thought it was excellent, others felt the result flattered us.
To be honest, I couldn’t understand most of the negative criticism when I watched the game. I’ll agree that Miller had a poor match. Niko was inconsistent during the game. Dorrans, though, had a good game, especially when it all opened up after our substitutions. But in a game where we scored four goals and could have had double that without too much complaint, there’s no way it can be described as poor at any point.
Over the course of a 38 game season, it’s difficult to say just how often you should expect your team to play well. Last season, what we saw was that when we weren’t at our best, we struggled to win. There were only a handful of games, at most, where we looked like a good team. If you get a great performance from a side 10 times out of 38, that’s an amazing return.
So if you truly believe we didn’t play well on Saturday, or nowhere near as well as we can, why would you be negative about a 4-1 win in that circumstance? Wouldn’t that be a cause for celebration, a sign that we’re getting close to where we need to be?
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I don’t happen to agree with those who think we didn’t play well on Saturday. That was a good performance, even with room for improvement being possible. We mixed up our styles of play well during the match, which led to different types of goals being scored. There were some good individual performances and a real desire to make up for any mistakes. Every goal was celebrated by all the players, with Pena’s in particular bringing them a lot of joy. If you didn’t enjoy that game during the 90 minutes, or came out feeling negative in any way, I’m not sure what would keep you happy at all.
It looks like it’s going to be difficult to keep our squad sharp overall. On Saturday, neither Rossiter nor Herrera got on the pitch, two players you’d expect to feature a fair amount over the season. Declan John didn’t make the bench, and players like Holt and Dalcio are seemingly well out of the picture. It’s good to have plenty of options in various areas. We may be reliant upon not getting many injuries to keep us playing well though. It’s a lot to ask for a player to come in from the cold and play well.
We’ve potentially got a great player in Alfredo Morelos. I almost don’t want to say any more in case I jinx it…
And lastly – let’s not be dismissive of Partick Thistle just because of the game coming up on the horizon. They were unlucky to lose at home to Celtic and Aberdeen. Both games will require a strong performance to win them, especially as the cup game is likely to see a number of players brought in who haven’t played much recently.
Let me know your thoughts on Saturday, or anything else Rangers related, by tweeting @rangersnewsuk