Rangers rise to the occasion…

This was an excellent victory for Rangers. The club as a whole has been under has been under enormous pressure recently and for their players to respond like this says a lot for them. By contrast, Celtic never seemed to put things together as a unit and I thought a few players failed to rise to the occasion. Not unexpectedly, the goals all came from mistakes of one sort or another.

For Rangers first, Kayal should not have allowed Lafferty the room to turn out on the flank; the striker’s shot was only half-cleared by Kelvin Wilson, leaving Steven Naismith the chance for a shot and what a wonderful effort he sent into the net.

Celtic’s first equaliser was a very precise strike by Gary Hooper, although I should imagine that, like myself, Ally McCoist would have been surprised that an experienced player like Bocanegra did not come out more quickly to leave the Celtic striker in an offside position. And what can you say about Alan McGregor’s mistake which led to Celtic’s second? I should imagine he found the dressing-room a very lonely place at the interval.

Rangers started the second at full throttle. Davis hit the bar with a fine effort; Lafferty scored from an angle but the goal was incorrectly ruled out for offside. So, after that pressure, it was no surprise when Jelavic scored from a corner. It was hard to see who did not pick up whom but, whether the marking is zonal or man-to-man, it is ludicrous to leave the opposition’s main striker un-marked.

Loovens hit the post at the other end, then a mistake by Kayal, who lost the ball too easily in the centre circle, allowed Rangers a quick break, the ball eventually falling to Lafferty, who at the third attempt managed to Rangers ahead. Celtic lost Mulgrew, for a second yellow, although, to be very honest, many a referee would have had him off the pitch for the very late challenge he was only booked for in the first half. The nail in the coffin came after another quick Rangers break, our defence all over the place as Naismith came running from a long way back to seal the 4-2 win.

It is now back to the drawing-board for Neil Lennon and his coaching team. On paper, Celtic look to have not only the more extensive squad but also the more expensive one too. Yet, on this occasion, when it came to the actual playing of the game, that certainly did not look like the position. Our goalkeeper’s kicking of pass-backs causes palpitations among both his defenders and the support, the layout of the midfield was not a success and the two up front failed to gel with each other.

Celtic are now 4 points behind Rangers after 7 league matches; it is not quite like climbing Everest but it certainly is an uphill challenge!

Jim Craig

 

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6 thoughts on “Rangers rise to the occasion…

  1. Rangers had a stronger desire to win today than Celtic. Outside of a 15 minute period at the end of the first half I thought Rangers were the better side – much as it pains me to say it.

    It is still early doors though. I expect the usual knee-jerk reaction after an loss to Rangers. It is up to the management and players to prove to the fans that they have what it takes to finish the season on top of the pile.

  2. Steve (McV) – Agreed, the knee-jerk reactions are already all-to-apparent on the various message boards/twitter etc.
    I see Kris Commons has this evening tweeted to say he was fit and available for selection and didnt know why he wasn’t picked. Clearly some issues behind the scenes (could it be related to Commons’ very public week off enjoying himself in Malaga when perhaps his time would better have been served getting himself fit?), but airing your dirty washing in public like this certainly doesn’t help the cause….

    Steve (OH)

  3. Quite simply we were out fought, out muscled and out played for the whole second half. I am consoling myself that this was a midweek hangover, but I am not so sure.

    Forster 5 – Never was that happy with back passes, or crosses, looked shaky throughout

    MWilson 6 – Did okay, never created much of a threat, but kept Wylde reasonably quiet
    KWilson 5 – Horrible display from him. Passing was poor, cost at least 1 goal
    Loovens 6 – Did ok, but really needs to show some agression in the backline, too easily brushed off by Jelavic and/or Lafferty
    El Kaddouri 5 – Looked lost to me, was beaten all too often in the air and on the deck

    Brown 6 – Brought the team back into it with the drive for Hoopers goal, but all too often was invisible
    Kayal 6 – Lacked the usual penetration and drive especially in second half
    Ki 6 – Didn’t get going second half, pace of these gpass him by at times
    Mulgrew 5 – Our best and worst player on the day, gave us a threat going forward, but ultimately reckless challenges handed all hope of victory to Rangers. Couldve went earlier

    Samaras 5 – Won a few in the air, but there is a lack of passion and desire
    Hooper 6 – Gets a 6 for scoring, but other than that he was not at the races

    Lennon needs to do some soul searching, his partnerships at the back and up front are simply not working. After a midweek trip to Spain, I was calling for 5 in the middle of the park, whether that would have made a difference remains to be seen, Mulgrew was always looking like he was going to walk, perhaps needed to be hooked before it happened,

    Rangers a well deserved 3 points, they couldve and shouldve had a couple more.

  4. Hard not to re-iterate the comments that have already been made but very disappointing result and more importantly performance. We seem to change the team from game to game for no apparent reason and I don’t think it helps settle the team in any way at all. No area of the team today can go without criticism or blame and I hope that lessons have been learnt and we will see no repeat again. Players need to stand up and be held accountable for their performances and its hard to see whom in our team wanted to show for the ball and more importantly look to lead and do something positive with the ball. Some players appear to be struggling with personal form and it’s disappointing that so often in Old Firm games we don’t get simply 1 or 2 players having an off day, rather the vast majority. We always seem able to pick the formation and likely lineup for Rangers in all these games, yet our team selection and formation by and large seems to confuse and has the fans asking questions and debating whether it is the best team or not before kick off. We need to get a settled lineup (barring injury) with form players on the pitch from the start. Time unfortunately is not something Lenny has – this season is crucial if he is to be in the dugout next season. Cups are meaningless if they are unaccompanied by the SPL trophy.

  5. What do youse all think, if we lose to Ross Co on wednesday night, is it a crisis???

    The players owe Lennon a performance on wednesday night, and if Lennon just picks his best team (not who he thinks will nullify opposition or a change) then I am sure we will get it.

    Over and Over

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