We all knew Rugby Park would be a tough test for the first game of the season. Did anyone think Rangers would turn in a performance like that though? I know I certainly didn’t.
This performance lacked creativity, fight and quality all over the pitch. There didn’t seem to be a proper game plan. It went back to the old long balls over the top and play it the full backs and whip in a hundred crosses and hope for the best.
Michael Beale signed players who are supposed to be good footballers. Players that can play quick, intricate football. So where was that today? There was absolutely no sign of ‘taking the handbrake’ off today.
Until Michael Beale stops playing two defensive midfielders I never want to hear him utter that phrase again.
The Team Selection
Eyebrows were raised when the lineup was announced yesterday. The defence was as expected with Ridvan’s injury but the exclusion of Todd Cantwell was definitely a shock to fans.
The managers reasoning after also didn’t make any sense. Claiming that he didn’t think the early part of the game would suit him. He was Rangers best player towards the end of the season, now suddenly some domestic games don’t suit him? What did John Lundstram add to the midfield that Cantwell couldn’t have?
Then many fans, myself included, thought Danilo was a stick on to start the match. He had a full preseason with Feyenord plus friendly matches so should’ve been raring to go. Instead the manager went with Dessers up top, who was clearly a yard off of the pace of the game.
I don’t doubt that Dessers will come good but starting him was the wrong choice yesterday. He struggled to get into the game and didn’t look fit, he never should have lasted as long as he did on the pitch.
This section will be a short one. Purely because there wasn’t a style of play on show. It was unclear through preseason what the game plan was but with a full week to work on it, fans expected better.
What we were treated to was a flurry of long balls and crossed whipped in from deep, the exact same as last season. Money has been spent on the team to bring in creative players capable of breaking stubborn defences. Yet, there was no sign of any creativity or cutting edge in that performance.
The subs in general weren’t a major issues yesterday, apart from one. A goal down while creating nothing with 20 minutes to go and who comes on? Ryan Jack.
Cifuentes, Hagi, Matondo and Roofe were all on the bench but Beale swapped one defensive midfielder for another. AT A GOAL DOWN WITH 20 MINUTES TO GO.
I just don’t understand it and going by the reaction of many fans on social media, they agree. It was an absolutely baffling decision and changed nothing in the game.
Individual Errors Cost Rangers AGAIN
I’m a massive fan of John Souttar. I’ve had arguments that he’s the best centre back at the club and the best Scottish centre back around currently.
What was he doing yesterday for the goal though? You just need to get rid of it there. The problem with Rangers defenders is they always want more time on the ball. Sometimes you just need to get ball out and that’s a mistake that is made time and time again.
Inside the box isn’t the place to control and pick out the perfect pass and that’s a lesson that these defenders haven’t learned over recent seasons.
I’m genuinely trying not to be too soon and gloom over that performance, but it was so, so poor. Poor defensively with nothing going forward. A truly horrible combination.
Tuesday represents a chance at redemption for some of the players and a chance to show what they’re actually capable of.
Every domestic game, up to and including the OF, is must win. Rangers are already on the back foot and the last thing the club can afford is to fall further behind.
Listen to Michael Beale’s thoughts on the performance here.
Read more about new signing José Cifuentes here.