Rangers Still Very Much A Work In Progress


Rangers and their large fanbase came crashing back down to earth as the Championship side’s eleven game winning run came to an abrupt halt as St Johnstone cruised to a 3-1 win at Ibrox.

The Premiership team came to Glasgow with a plan, stuck to it and were rewarded.

It was a lesson for new Gers boss Mark Warburton that his squad still isn’t up to the standards that are expected of them.

In the League, Rangers have been rampant. But those performances in Scotland’s second tier papered over a few cracks, St Johnstone showed the Scottish footballing family that those cracks could be exploited.

Warburton has said throughout is Rangers reign so far that his side aren’t as ruthless as they could be.

On the back of a 3-0 victory over Peterhead last month, Warburton said:

“We have got to learn to be more clinical in front of goal in order to get our just rewards.”

“It’s important to us to keep working on breaking teams down and keep moving the ball. I was delighted with how we performed, but I just want the players to get their rewards. They worked really hard today, created a lot of chances and could have been very respectfully a lot more ahead.

He has continually repeated that point, even though Rangers were winning comfortably in the league.

It was almost as if he could see the League Cup defeat coming.

Against stiffer opposition, the Ibrox side were found wanting.

The light blues started off in similar fashion as they dictated play and looked to attack their opponents.

But they couldn’t break down the Perth outfit and the Saints side started to become more confident in their own play which was all about pace, power and discipline.

Looking at the statistics you can see just why Warburton has been banging on about his side needing to be more clinical. They had 62% of the possession compared to St Johnstone’s 38%. The Glasgow side also had more shots at goal, more free-kicks and more corners. Yet they did’t manage enough shots on target and not enough of the creative talent showed enough quality in the final third.

The Premiership side were very tough to breakdown and caught Rangers out at the back.

The Gers defence has been a bit shaky all season and this game proved to show that things still need to worked upon with the back four. I’m not convinced that central defenders Danny Wilson and Rob Kiernan have developed a good enough understanding as of yet, that was highlighted during the Saints third goal.

Michael O’Halloran and Steven Maclean continuously caused problems with pace and pressing.

The attacking, creative style that Rangers have played with s far this term has delighted the fans but against an experienced team like St Johnstone it causes too many problems with the full-backs pushed forward too much and with no real holding player in there it leaves too much space for smart, pacy opponents.

Rangers rallied after the third goal and managed to pull one back but again they failed to make any dominance pay and St Johnstone again smothered the Gers side and easily held on to their lead for the final twenty-five minutes.

mark Warburton and his assistant Davie Weir will have learned a lot about his side after their first defeat of the season. The management team and their players were out-foxed at home and that will be a huge blow to the club’s pride.

The Gers manager needs to make sure that his pool have it well drilled into them that that kind of result isn’t good enough at Ibrox. More fight and grit needs to blend in with the creative flair.

The squad need to come together and become stronger. Too many of them looked naive against St Johnstone, they need to be more streetwise and as Warburton says, they need to be clinical and ruthless with their chances and make possession count!

All the stronger sides learn from defeat and come out fighting… Can this Rangers side do that?

Well Morton will find that out on Sunday!

Leave a Reply