Scottish Cup Final Shows That Rangers Are Far From The Finished Article

Ibrox Front

First off, let me congratulate the Hibs team on their historic triumph. They deserved the win and worked extremely hard to get it.

I am not going to discuss the aftermath of the game, I wasn’t there and will let the proper authorities investigate. Obviously it wasn’t a great image for Scottish football.

But let’s not let anything stand in the way of the truth and that is that Rangers simply weren’t good enough yesterday.

Gers boss Mark Warburton would have realised before the end of his sides last league match that changes were needed at Ibrox but the game at Hampden showed the world that this ‘Light Blues’ squad still have too far many flaws.

Now many will point out that Rangers had to wait twenty days between this final and their last game of the Championship season. Obviously that isn’t ideal but they are Rangers and should always be ready for a cup final. Plus let’s not forget that they ended the season poorly after sealing the Championship title. They often played as if they were wearing flip-flops and had swimming goggles on!

Really the squad peaked against Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi final and never looked the same again after that win.

In the first twenty minutes of the final the whole team looked off the pace and extremely rusty as they failed to really compete with Hibs.

Anthony Stokes in particular seemed to have the run on every Gers player he came up against. The same Stokes deemed not good enough at Celtic under Ronny Deila.

He gave the Hibees the lead after just two minutes when he found himself in space on the lefthand side because right-back James Tavernier was slow in getting back into position. Stokes continued his run into the penalty area, where Rob Kiernan inexplicably didn’t close him down or put in a challenge. So Stokes then had a clear chance in on goal and steered it past Wes Foderingham.

Too many times after that the Rangers defence were full of holes as the Hibs frontmen continually lost their markers and the Gers full-backs failed to get back after venturing forward.

Even going forward Tavernier and captain Lee Wallace weren’t as effective as they have been. They seemed to be a yard slower in this encounter.

Tavernier in particular looked sloppy. He has been sensational going forward this term but many a Gers fan have questioned his defensive abilities. This cup final showed that he needs to get back quicker and be stronger in the challenge. He also needs to react quicker to dangerous situations and stop moaning when he should be switched on to danger.

In the Premiership and especially in the bigger games the Rangers full-backs will need to be concentrating fully on their defensive duties and wont get the freedom that they’ve enjoyed this year.

I am still left unconvinced that Kiernan and Danny Wilson have the makings of a solid, consistent defensive partnership. Just when you think they might be a decent duo they fling in a performance that suggests that they’ve just met during a very awkward first date situation. They also don’t command their penalty area at set pieces, look at Hibs’ final two goals, the Gers defence crumbled at the sight of a good ball into the box.

Another more experienced centre-back who can talk others through the game and who can dominate in the air needs to be brought in. Someone like Davie Weir during Walter Smith’s second stint in charge at Ibrox would be ideal.

I’m also far from convinced about the abilities of goalkeeper Wes Foderingham. He’s a decent shot-stopper but does he read the game well enough? Plus he’s another one who suffers from concentration issues.

You can see why Warburton is desperate to bring in an experienced defensive midfielder like Joey Barton in, to help shore things up. Andy Halliday has performed admirably well during this campaign and his passion cannot be faulted but he isn’t a midfield marshall, he’s better looking for a forward pass. A proper holding midfielder will be able to spot trouble and snuff it out. He would also be able to cover the full-backs better. An experienced pro will also have the nous to keep the ball and slow the tempo down when needed to.

Warburton also needs to look at bringing in another forward.

Kenny Miller was brilliant and seems to be showing us that he’s getting better with age. Scored his goal well and made some very intelligent runs. Also worked tremendously hard for the team.

Winger Barrie McKay has been tremendous all season, he did himself and his team proud yesterday. Worked back well and always put a foot in when needed. Was also one of the better players at keeping the ball.

Martyn Waghorn worked hard but you could tell that he was just coming back from an injury. Looked dead on his feet just before he was hooked.

But the problem is that they need more competition for a striking role. The bench was threadbare (Obviously O’Halloran and King were cup-tied) and Nicky Clark doesn’t provide Gers fans with confidence and doesn’t strike fear into the opposition. So a new striker who can compete with the likes of Waghorn and Miller by doing well centrally and add depth to the striking department is also required.

Now I don’t want to totally dismiss Rangers season. They completed the main objective and secured a return to Scotland’s top flight. They also impressed with a free flowing attacking style that cause every opposition team problems.

But you cannot stand still in football, even after a successful season. You need to continue and build from that success.

Celtic will be reinvigorated by the arrival of Brendan Rodgers. While Aberdeen will be determined to not lose their place to Rangers.

So the Ibrox side need to pursue their top targets, push those deals through and work tirelessly to fix the flaws that we all witnessed in their defeat to Hibs.


One Response to “Scottish Cup Final Shows That Rangers Are Far From The Finished Article”

  1. We need two quality centre halfs the two we got r a joke

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