Same Old Problems Cost Rangers In latest Old Firm Encounter


Rangers showed today that in a one off game they can still give Celtic a tough match. But for the third time this season the Green half of Glasgow were the fans celebrating victory.

Over the course of the game, Celtic were deserved winners. The Scottish champions struggled to keep up with Gers in the opening half hour, Rangers scored in that period and were worthy of that lead.

But from then on, Celtic started to look the better side and Brendan Rodgers’ side dominated the second half, getting the winner with twenty minutes from time.

Now having said that Rangers made a better fist of things this time around, they still made the same old mistakes that allowed Celtic back into the game and allowed the Hoops to gain control of the fixture.

I’m still not convinced by the Rangers defence.

Although James Tavernier was pushed slightly further forward, he still needs to try and do the simple defence things when needed. The Englishman actually looks a decent right winger as his runs forward cause endless problems for opposition sides but when things go the other way he seems to crumble.

At times today Tavernier couldn’t make a decent pass inside his own half, find an adequate first touch and for some unknown reason he just couldn’t clear the ball out of play when his side were under severe pressure. Too often he’d get caught with the ball at his feet or he’d misplace the simplest pass.

In fairness the same could be said for most of the Rangers defence when it came to playing the ball out from the back. Most of their passes were wayward and they often panicked when put under pressure from the Celtic attack.

If Fulham are serious about offering £2m for Rob Kiernan, then Mark Warburton should bite their hand off!

The central defender makes far too many mistakes and they often cost his side dear, especially in the bigger games. He’s slow in the tackle, hasn’t got the pace to make up for his mistakes and his passing leaves a lot to be desired.

For Celtic’s winner, it’s true that Tavernier could have done more to help the back three, but why didn’t Kiernan have a closer eye on Scott Sinclair? Who was obviously his man throughout the game. You can bawl and shout all you want but the fact is that you contributed absolutely nothing defensively in that sequence.

Danny Wilson hasn’t reached his potential and I think it’s clear to everyone that he won’t hit those heady heights now. Too many times the ball floated over his head and he allowed it to bounce when he needed to just deal with the problem when it’s in the air.

For Moussa Dembele’s goal, Wilson was the man designated to mark the young Frenchman but he decided to leave his man and get caught underneath the ball. That gave Dembele time and space in the box and he took his goal with aplomb.

To be fair to Clint Hill, he was probably the best centre-half out there for Rangers but at his lack of pace is always going to worry you in a game like this. But his experience once again got him through without much fuss.

These defensive issues were evident for all to see towards the end of last season. They became glaringly obvious in the Scottish Cup final loss to Hibs and it was hammered home in the opening Old Firm game of the season.

It really is quite scary who badly this Rangers team defend corners.

Why Warburton didn’t bring in a commanding centre-back in the summer I don’t know.

Rangers also have problems going forward.

It says a lot that at thirty-seven, Kenny Miller is still Rangers biggest threat in the bigger games. He took his goal well and is still smart enough to make superb runs.

Barrie McKay was probably the Gers best outfield player and was a constant threat when he had the ball at his feet. Celtic obviously noticed that and made it harder for the Gers players to get Barrie on the ball in the second half.

The issues up-top stemmed from Martyn Waghorn, who didn’t have the pace to threaten Celtic’s backline and he couldn’t hold the ball up which made things a lot harder for McKay and Miller in terms of getting on the ball in dangers positions.

Warburton seems to think that a creative midfielder is needed to take his side to the next level and I can see where he’s coming from.

But to win games consistently enough to close any gaps on Celtic, or more importantly for this season to get away from Aberdeen and secure second place, then you need to keep clean-sheets and out score your opponents.

So as well as signing that creative midfielder, Mark Warburton should really being looking at bringing in a free-scoring forward and a commanding central defender who will put his head onto every ball that comes into the Rangers box. Plus move James Tavenier into midfield and have Lee Hodson and Lee Wallace as his fullbacks.

It seems as if the Rangers manager is they only one oblivious to his team’s shortcomings and that needs to change!

Leave a Reply