Rangers returned to action following the final international break of the calendar year with a trip to Hamilton, seen by many as a most ideal way to kick start a crucial run of games. Three goals scored and three points gained, but this was much more a story of frustratingly familiar levels of performance off the back of a break from many of our players, and it required some moments of individual brilliance to swing things in our favour in a game that otherwise so Accies have much more opportunities in the second half than anyone could have expected. However, another win on the board and one or two very impressive performances that saw us home.
Allan McGregor – 7
Concedes in the first half which was more an issue of the defence completely switching off, but a couple of occasions where he needed to be sharp to prevent a second goal for the opposition. A busier afternoon than he, or indeed any Rangers fan, would have in all honesty expected from him.
James Tavernier – 5
Not a good day for the skipper, mainly down to the fact that he was pretty much anonymous defensively, and his attacking play was basically a load of crosses that were way over hit and opportunities wasted. Give him credit for the run he makes early on which in the end leads to the first goal, as well as other runs that he would make during the game. He is very good at that but there are too many other aspects of his game that let him down at the moment.
Connor Goldson – 5
How strange to see him do so well against Livingston, only to be the mirror opposite on a similar surface against a similar level on opponent. He seemed to find the task of dealing with their big (in many ways) striker a difficult task and he did not exude the dominance that we had grown used to over recent weeks. To be fair though, I think we can put this down to it being “one of those days” over anything more worrying.
Filip Helander – 6
I would certainly want to question what Helander is doing for the Hamilton goal, and I would also accuse the Swedish international of lacking the required dominance in this match, but we at least saw a little bit more calm from him regarding certain defensive situations.
Borna Barisic – 6
I don’t think he was too bad defensively, stayed strong in the challenge and was able to walk off a real whack to his foot in the second half, but I was not able to escape the idea that had he been more at it here, we would have had a better variety of opportunities to score so there was perhaps some crossing (corners aside) that was lacking. Although it could be argued that given there is not much height in the box that crossing the ball in for the sake of it isn’t the way to go (Tav).
Glen Kamara – 6
I went through much of this game thinking “is Kamara even playing?” as he was so quiet. No penetrating runs, no solid tackles, he just felt like a body in the middle of the park, just having a run about. I can’t point the finger at him for doing anything particularly wrong, however he didn’t exactly do anything right either. The only thing I can think of from him was his touch to ever so slightly divert the ball from the Hamilton player who missed an open goal. I’m of the opinion we gained from luck rather than quality on that occasion.
Ryan Jack – 9 – Man of the Match
I thought his finish to open the scoring was a very smart one indeed. He is playing the deep role but he could have fooled us with how advanced he was to receive the ball and do the hard bit by finding the space to slot under the keeper. He seemed like a man on a mission to get another goal as well, and that goal had to be an absolute peach! Long shots, maybe 3 or 4, all of which looked threatening. His communication, his desire to win the ball, his long shots and ability to find the net, it’s almost as if he is morphing into another famous number 8…
Joe Aribo – 6
We really should be seeing more from Aribo in a game like this. His close control and ability to dance past three defenders with absolute ease seems to have escaped him for now, and what we got from him instead was him playing very safe passes and not looking to creat much spark.
Scott Arfield – 5
What is the point in playing Scott Arfield when he continually loses us possession when he is on the ball? He isn’t a dribbler so when he receives the ball to feet he isn’t going to show a turn of pace to get the ball rolling. He isn’t a passer either, meaning that he isn’t threading the ball through the eye of a needle. He is best used in a counter attacking situation as he is smart and will be aware of where the ball should go and where the space is, but that wasn’t how we attacked here. Like Kamara, he simply felt like a body on the field, but his crimes are worse as he did make mistakes and did give possession away.
Jermain Defoe – 6
Limited to snap shots and not much else. Fully expected him to come into the side and bag a couple of goals, but he was neither given the right kind of service nor taking any chances that would somehow conspire to fall his way.
Ryan Kent – 9
What a goal he scored to regain the lead for us! Because he is so adept to using both feet, this is an avenue that should be exploited more and more often, the unpredictability of what he may do. Will he pass? Will he dribble forward and open up more space? Will he blast the ball into the top corner? The fact that he can free roam like that is a real weapon for us and it’s nice to see us using it. And his calm finish late in to seal the victory, though more credit will probably go to the assist, showed great composure. He wasn’t just brought back for the big games, he can and will positively affect matters in these type of games as well.
Sheyi Ojo – 6
I think every one of us knew what we would see from Ojo when he entered the fray. A lot of running, the ball more often than not advancing up the park, but not really any moment of concise play. To be fair though, having that kind of runner on the park did help us at least advance the ball up the park at points. Am I maybe trying to find a positive though?
Steven Davis – 7
It was frustrating that we had to bring Davis on when I’m sure the plan was to give him a full game off to get ready for Thursday, but it was necessary as he really calmed things down and the game swung back to 50/50 from his inclusion. I’m sure this is as good an example of how important he is in terms of the stuff we perhaps don’t immediately see.
Alfredo Morelos – 7
It was equally as frustrating to see Morelos come on when he probably needed the rest even more, mind you he is someone who just loves playing the game. He gets booked for “kicking out” at a Hamilton player, only he would pick up a caution for that in this country though, referees seem to relish the opportunity to discipline him for the most minor of things. But his excellent assist for Kent’s second and Rangers third, being aware of the space around him and weighting the ball expertly, showed how much that quality still remains.