Kilmarnock reduced the size of the park by a substantial amount for their clash against Glasgow Rangers on Sunday. They made the playing area shorter and narrower than it was last week.
They also played a disciplined 4-5-1 line-up, fouled throughout the game, and it helped to make the game exceptionally poor entertainment.
Here is a rundown of how the Rangers players performed.
Wes Foderingham had nothing to do, except pick the ball out of the net in 83 minutes. I wondered if Allan McGregor would have saved the shot that beat Wes, because that’s what he does, and why he’s the No.1.
James Tavernier’s form has dipped a bit since all the transfer talk started, but he has still managed to pitch in with crosses and assists.
Connor Goldson had a decent game and scored the winner in the 90th minute, to clinch a vital three point start to Rangers league challenge this season.
Nikola Katic won everything in the air which is very important in the hurly burly of the SPFL, and set up the first goal for Arfield.
I thought that Borna Barisic was the least-productive Rangers player on show, and was also poor in Luxembourg. I can’t see him keeping his place for the game in Denmark on Thursday.
Steven Davis has been excellent this season and he makes the team tick in the midfield. He works well with everybody and his reading of the game and passing is crucial to Rangers winning silverware this season.
Ryan Jack was probably Rangers best player on the day, but even he was not as good as normal. It was described by Gerrard as a grind to watch and play in, and that’s exactly what it was.
Joe Aribo is a tall, strong, box to box player with a reputation for scoring goals. His passing skills are first class and he doesn’t give the ball away easily.
He will get used to the speed and toughness in the SPFL, because he was not as good as normal, in this horrible to watch Killie match.
Scott Arfield scored from a James Tavernier corner that was met by the head of Nikola Katic forcing a great save from the Killie keeper, before the Canadian internationalist stuck in the rebound.
Since coming back from Canada his form has dipped slightly, and doesn’t look to be 100% up to speed yet, but he is a vital clog in Gerrard’s side.
Alfredo Morelos picked up a niggle during pre-season training and has had to take things a bit eaiser than others to get fit again, and it shows.
Not as sharp as usual, but apart from a few over physical challenges, he did alright. Broadfoot fouled him throughout, and bias referee Collum had Morelos shaking his head, when refusing to blow the whistle.
Morelos was crowded out by the 4-5-1 Killie tactics and it was only half chances that fell his way. He was more of a team player than usual.
Sheyi Ojo had his least productive game for Rangers so far. He simply couldn’t find any room to be effective. He might be one of those players when he’s good, he’s very good, and when he is bad, get him off for a sub.
When Aberdeen, Kilmarnock and some other teams come to Ibrox to play for a 0-0 draw, or to score from a mistake, free kick or corner, I have a remedy to the situation. Let’s give them a greater problem to worry about.
Height is a great advantage, therefore Rangers must sign a tall centre forward and play with three centre-halves to stop the goals against, and the start the goals for the team.
Under Martin O’Neil, Celtic used to overpower Scottish teams with the same tactics. They had Chris Sutton, Henrik Larsson and three tall centre-backs, and even good teams couldn’t cope with it, including Rangers.
Goldson, Katic, Helander:
Tavernier Aribo, Davis, Arfield. Jones:
TALL centre forward or Morelos.
Subs, Morelos, Defoe, Kamara, Jack, Docherty, Foderingham, Ojo
A free kick in your own half can also bring chaos. An accurate long kick onto the 18 yard line for one of your big boys to win the first ball is the secret to the success of the move.
Then you have practiced where you want the second ball to be headed to, and if that is fairly accurate, you have three tall guys, all with a chance to score.
Let’s have someone taking long throws into the penalty box. Accurate throws can be even more dangerous than corners if they are also practiced to nearly perfect.
Katic is superb in the air, so I suggest making him the target for the throw, if he wins the ball, he doesn’t try to score, he heads it into the danger zone, for the other THREE to try and score.
The opposition get really worried about giving throws, free kicks and corners away cheaply, and this adds to their nervousness.
Now that everybody is fit, there is plenty of time to practice new ideas and tactics.
Killie knew exactly how Rangers would play. Katic to Barisic, stand in front of him and he pushes it back, then the other side and so on.
At times it changed from 4-5-1 to 5-5 in Killie’s half, and it was short pass after short pass, thankfully Rangers scored via a corner kick. Thanks to Tavernier, Katic and Arfield.
No matter how Rangers huffed and puffed with the same tactics, there was no room to score – until – a corner in the 90th minute – and out of jail for all three points. This time it was down to Tavernier and Goldson.
Perhaps Stevne Gerrard is starting to see what I have been preaching about for over two years now – stop losing goals from free kicks and corners and start winning more from them.