Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the match on Saturday. As such, my judgement on the game came from watching the 90 minutes on Rangers TV. Before I was able to do that, there was a fair mixture of opinions on the performance. I was told the first half was poor, yet we missed a number of great chances before Morelos scored. Kranjcar, Miller and Dorrans came in for specific criticism. I discussed some of this in the ratings article.
Having to watch a game that way instead of in the stands, especially when you already know the result, does affect how you judge the game. Without the anxiousness of worrying about the result, you can focus on what a player does well rather than their mistakes.
In terms of a Man of the Match, there were three clear candidates. First of those was Alfredo Morelos. He scored twice and was very good in terms of his all-round performance. The defenders never outmuscled him once, and he won more headers than someone of his height should. He was close to recreating his goal against Hibs after only three minutes from a Candeias free kick. This time, however, he didn’t quite get the positioning correct and headed well over. His first goal was a good finish from some nice link up between Miller and Candeias. It was Morelos, though, who won the header to get us possession high up the pitch.
After multiple viewings, I still can’t decide if his second goal was a cross or a shot. The way he’s hit the ball makes me lean towards it being a shot that the keeper has made a mess of. Regardless, he deserved two goals, and he was given Man of the Match at the game.
A second candidate was Ryan Jack. He’s been consistently good for us, but Saturday was particularly impressive. In the first half, he was isolated a little more as Dorrans was asked to get forward. That didn’t stop him having a huge influence on the game, though. He cut out numerous passes and won the ball well when required to break up play. There were a few occasions where he was able to drive forward with the ball, and show his ability to pick out a pass. When a team is forced to clear a ball under pressure, Jack is very good at reading where that will drop and keeping the pressure on.
It was Jack’s backheel that sent Windass away and led to Pena’s goal. He’s more than just a “water carrier”, as they say.
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Despite those performances, the Man of the Match for me was Daniel Candeias. His non-stop running meant that he was a constant threat. He almost plays like a hybrid between a winger and wide midfielder. He does the defensive work with no complaints at all, and likes to cross a ball early, but his pace and direct attitude is what you’d expect from a winger. His flick through for the first goal was a nice bit of vision. The cross for Windass’ goal was not only accurate, but well spotted. When he picked the ball up, he was facing away from the opposition box, but he was composed enough to look up and see the run.
Any player who has the workrate and attitude of Candeias will be a favourite among many fans. He is also showing that he’s highly effective, and that his crossing will lead to a number of chances. On the counter attack, he’s a real threat. Much like Ryan Jack, he looks like a player who won’t ever perform poorly, and when he plays well, he’s very good.
On top of all of that, he has pretty much no fear of being hit. At one point, he was hit by a tackle the bad guys from Karate Kid would have been proud of. After a minute of treatment, he was back on the park looking for more. All of that without Mr Miyagi’s magical healing powers!
Who was your man of the match on Saturday? Tweet us @rangersnewsuk with your opinions!