After the game last night I felt positive, then I watched it back. Apart from the first 30 minutes it was almost as poor as Saturday. A 2-1 win against 10 men is a poor result to take away from home.
Massive improvements are needed for Rangers to progress in the Champions League and win the league back. Let’s look at three key takeaways from the performance.
Still Not Clinical Enough
Let’s face it, it was a much better performance than Saturday, at times. Some of the same problems have arisen though, the major one being the ability to convert chances when we’re on top.
Lammers has to make it 3-0, it’s an absolute sitter. If he scores that it’s game over and I’d be very confident we would go on and score more. What happens after the miss though?
They get a free kick and Dessers gives away a ridiculous penalty. I’ve no idea what he’s hoping to accomplish with that body position/movement. Rangers had 22 shots with an xG of 3.03 and only managed 2 goals. Of those 22 shots, only 8 were on target.
Sam Lammers had 1/5 on target, Dessers 2/2 and Danilo 2/3. Lammers looked excellent in preseason but he’s got a long way to go to convince fans he’s the answer for goals.
Not finishing the game off gives Servette the chance to get back into it in Geneva. I just hope that Lammers miss doesn’t come back to bite us.
The Build up Play Needs to Start Clicking Soon
There weren’t a lot of positives to take from last night in the end. The two goals contained some lovely bits of positive play. It was short, sharp one touch passing the lead to Lammers being sent out wide and just squeezing the ball into the box before Cantwell was fouled.
Then for the second, John Souttar does incredibly well to go passed a couple of players then play it to Barisic in space. The Croatian then drilled in a dangerous cross and Dessers just let it hit off of him into the back of the net.
Apart from that, I can’t think of many times the build up was dangerous. It broke down way too often in the final third. Some really slack passing from all the front players caused many moves to break down.
Especially in the second half, none of the forwards were on the same page. You live in hope that it will click and come good. If it can, this could be an exciting Rangers team.
If it doesn’t though, it could be a long, long season.
Danilo Will Come Good + Cifuentes’ Debut
Danilo added lots of energy last night that was missing from the weekend. Perhaps even trying too hard at times. He’s a very positive player that always wants to get forward and get shots away.
His link up was poor last night though, only completing 10/16 passes, that needs to improve. What is encouraging though, is his ability and willingness to run off the ball. That’s including both pressing and making runs beyond the defence.
When he strikes up a better relationship with the players around him I have no doubt he’ll come good. Some encouraging signs and some things that need to improve. What did you think about him?
José Cifuentes made his debut last night and looked promising in the short time he was on the pitch. He was tenacious in winning the ball back and positive when he was on it.
He added energy the midfield had been lack at that point in the same. I like the early signs and hope we see more of him on Saturday and Tuesday.
Michael Beale on The Performance
We started the game ever so well, the atmosphere in the stadium by the fans and the players was fantastic and we got ourselves 2-0 up.
The penalty changed the complexion of the game and after the sending off we pushed and pushed against a team that sat in and their goalie made two fantastic saves, one from Cyriel Dessers one from Sam Lammers.
There were a lot of other near chances in the final third but I was happy with our energy and our pressing and running.
The first two goals came from real good desire from the team, Borna [Barisic] I thought put in a number of good crosses all night and it was a good cross for the second goal.
The first goal was huge desire from Nico Raskin and then Todd Cantwell and I thought those two put a super amount of energy into the game tonight running forward and we caused a good team a lot of problems.
We won the game first and foremost. It is a European game and we won it so we go away now with an advantage, but we will reset and we’ll have to go and be at our best again.
Yes there were chances tonight we could’ve taken, but there will be chances next week and if we are more decisive then goals will come.Michael Beale to RTV
Can’t argue with the pressing and energy comment for the first 20/30 minutes. It was completely missing in the second half though, did he see that?
The fact he’s also just assuming we’ll get similar chances next week is concerning. It will be a completely different game away from home. Rangers should’ve won that game last night by at least 2/3.
I definitely think the manager was too kind about the performance post match.
Had Sam Lammers scored to make it 3-0 I wouldn’t have been surprised if we went on to score 5 or 6. However a stupid penalty stopped Rangers in their tracks.
We conceded and stopped doing what was getting us joy in the first half. There’s plenty of work to do next to week when the tie should’ve been buried. I really hope that Lammers miss isn’t what ends our Champions League progression.
If Rangers can go out and play like they did in the first 30 minutes for a more prolonged period in Geneva, we’ll be just fine. They need to find that level though and find a way of sustaining it throughout the 90.
The forwards need to be more clinical, once that clicks the season can truly start.
ICYMI you can read yesterdays article on supposed midfield target Sam Field here.