Whether or not Michael Beale remains as manager, big changes are needed for Rangers. An identity has to be found and built on, immediately.
A day on and the feelings from yesterday haven’t subsided, for me anyway. That performance was an embarrassment. No Rangers side should ever be setting up to play counter attacking football against them at home.
They played two centre backs who had played one previous game together and hadn’t played in an Old Firm. Rangers should’ve been looking to run over the top of them and exploit their inexperience in the atmosphere.
Instead we were treated to a team that sat back and let Callum McGregor do whatever he wanted. We had to watch a team play long ball after long ball over their defence to a striker who lacks pace.
The line-up, on paper, was promising and the majority of fans seemed happy with it. Then the game started and Rangers were negative from the first whistle. No desire to play football and use the creative players to make something happen.
This ‘handbrake off’ performance was a defensive, negative long ball feast. An utter embarrassment of a set up and one any Rangers manager should feel lucky to survive.
So, how can it get better? What needs to happen to stop this season spiralling into a disaster? Let’s have a look at a couple of things that may help;
Pick a System/Play Style And Stick to it
Over the last few games Rangers have played 4312, 4411, 433 and even 352 at some points during games. Squad versatility and flexibility is important but how can a team gel when they’re not playing in the same style game to game?
How can players get used to each other when there’s not a consistency with positions and starting 11s? This team hasn’t gelled at all yet for multiple reasons. Lack of consistency in the formation is one.
Lack of consistency in the starting 11 is another one. It’s fair to say it would be hard to have a set first 11 in mind after bringing in 9 new signings with 4 of them being forwards.
That being said, the 11, the formation and the play style have all been changing game to game. It’s really no wonder the players look lost out there. Sure, some of them aren’t performing to their capabilities, but do they even know what they’re meant to be doing?
There are big questions that need to be asked but the manager needs to start having some consistency, with everything on the pitch.
Stop Worrying About The Opposition
At Rangers worst, they’re the second best team in the country, so why is the play on the park so tentative? With the players at their disposal this side should be going out and getting on the front foot. Attacking teams, creating a lot for chances and scoring lots of goals.
Yet, this hasn’t been the case in recent years. Recently Rangers sides have been too busy focusing on the oppositions strengths and trying to nullify them. Obviously, this is necessary in certain games, especially in Europe, but not domestically.
Domestically should be where we see Rangers play nice, quick and attacking football. More often than not though, games only have spells of this and the rest is turgid passing with a lack of urgency and creativity.
Take the game in Dingwall for example. Rangers started well and went for Ross County, especially after the first goal. That was easily the best half of the season. Then the second half starts, an early chance is missed by Ross County and the rest of the half was flat and uninspiring. Why? Why can this team not go at the opposition for 70 minutes and then take the foot off the gas?
You’re lucky if this current Rangers team spend half an hour pressing and going at teams in the league. It’s uninspired, it’s boring and, quite frankly, depressing at times.
This mentality needs to change. This Rangers team need to believe they’re the best team in the division. They need to start attacking and pressing teams for more than 10 minutes at a time. It’s a big shift in mentality but one that is needed to get the fans back on side.
I don’t think Michael Beale will be sacked before the winter break. He has two weeks to get this team into shape.
It’s his players now so he doesn’t have that excuse. He needs to implement a system (despite what he says, there isn’t one currently) and stick to it. Get a shape and a play style that has everyone on the same page and go with it.
That’s the only way this team improves. Currently it looks like there’s no game plan and the players are just being sent out and told ‘go play’. A change in structure and mentality is crucial to saving our season.
Do you think Michael Beale is capable of this turnaround?
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ICYMI you can read a breakdown of some of the post match comments yesterday here.