Can we just never think about Tynecastle in the 2019/20 season ever again please? Like, pretty please!? Three games, 1 draw and two losses, the latest coming on Saturday as Hearts deservedly made their way to the Scottish Cup Semi Final at the expense of a truly inept Rangers team. We were rotten. Hardly tested their goalkeeper, too soft when broken on and everything about how the game played out felt so inevitable given how utterly poor our domestic form has been this calendar year, away from home. In fact, our only away win in Scotland in 2020 so far was in the previous Scottish Cup round against Hamilton. Yikes.
So many of us have debated back and forth on where the problem lies. Is it the players that are at fault? Is it the management? For me, it’s the former. Too many players who are not capable of being winners with this club. Given that this was the only realistic opportunity for this team to win a trophy this season, to put in a performance of such ineptitude is simply not acceptable for our support. It never will be. There are others who believe the management team have failed us by not putting the team in the right position to win this game. I can sympathise with this but given the way we are capable of stepping up in Europe, I believe that Steven Gerrard and his staff have earned more time. And any notion that he will leave either now or at the end of the season seems laughable. And then there is the Alfredo Morelos situation.
The Heart and Hand universe have made their views very clear on how disappointed they are in those who took to the field. For those of a nervous disposition, you may want to look away…
Allan McGregor – 3.4 (6)
This is probably a symptom of just how angry everyone is, I am fairly confident that many of us just put (1) as their own rating, but we should keep in mind that the result could have been a lot worse had McGregor not pulled off a couple of key stops. Can’t really blame him for the goal either, that was just a total defensive calamity, and he is probably one of, if not the only, player who you can call a proper winner in this squad. He wants more from his team, he demands it, but there is only so much a goalkeeper can do.
James Tavernier – 1.9 (2)
Yeah, I’m kind of done with him right now. There are two aspects to Tavernier that you need to study. Firstly, as a player. So many crosses that never beat the first man. So many gaps in the area he should be covering defensively. So many…disappointments. And his general use of the ball here was laughable. So many stray passes. So many moments where you would go “eh? What even was that!?” Then there is the captain. The leader on the park. The man who players can turn to for inspiration at a time where we really need someone to step up and grab the game by the scruff of the neck. We saw absolutely none of this from him. On his day, James Tavernier is a fine player and can lead a team. But these occasions feel far too irregular, and we cannot have that from a man who will wear the armband. He is too damaged, he is too used to seeing us fall at a hurdle (not even the final one) and he is not going to succeed as a captain with this team. He is a fine player, but this level is too high for him to perform consistently. Prove me wrong Tav, but I think he is done when it comes to his long-term Rangers future. And based on the ratings provided, many of you believe this is a game too far.
Connor Goldson – 2.5 (3)
This is another player who in the long run I think will struggle to maintain a starting berth deservedly for us. To go from the performance in Portugal to being as inept as he was in Edinburgh is something that, sadly, fans are becoming far too used to. Nevertheless, it still baffles us to see such a bipolar level of output. Absolutely no confidence in dealing with the Hearts attack. No shouting, no direction, no desire. Just a hidden display. From looking like he could start in the Premier League to looking like League 1 is the best he could hope for, there are serious doubts about whether Goldson is going to be able to last. If he was one of the players to be removed come the summer, I would not be surprised.
George Edmundson – 2.4 (3)
In contrast to Goldson, I almost feel like we can forgive Edmundson a little bit more, but I think that is an age thing which is causing that. What was SO impressive about Portugal was the fact he did all of that on his first experience of such an occasion, and maybe, just maybe, he had turned a crucial development corner and found that nothing fazed him. He looked frieghtened on Saturday, and that fear led to silly errors, one of which very nearly cost us a second goal. He could have done with more help around him, I wonder whether that makes McGregor’s rating more justifiable, whether he could have maybe helped guide George through a game he was struggling with, but that should really be something Goldson should help with, yet he was bad enough as was so no wonder The Fridge felt like he had to fend for himself. A game to forget. Or perhaps he should remember it, so as to never put in such a performance ever again.
Borna Barisic – 3.5 (4) – Man of the Match
It feels rather pointless giving a Man of the Match reward to a Rangers player given the way we bowed out of the Scottish Cup, yet the ratings suggest that the player who performed best for us that day was indeed the Croatian Prince Borna. His crossing was looking alright I guess, was playing with more heart than those around him at least, and that certainly didn’t go unnoticed by the rating public. It’s still a terrible performance of course, one that we cannot expect from him going forward now, and I think a lot of that is down to the fact it was the same kind of attacks over and over. No diversity, just the same thing that he is very good at doing, but an opposition will clock onto that. Don’t fall into the trap of being too automatic. And keep demanding more from your players, at least he is looking pissed off when things are not going well. Imagine last seasons Borna in this team…oh dear.
Ryan Jack – 2.6 (5)
I’m guessing I was being too generous here? I am maybe wanting to give him credit for playing through the pain having picked up a knock. But you could say that his absence from his defensive duties was very noticeable at the goal. I’m sure you can make a case for the goalscorer being Jack’s man. And if his injury was that bad that he could not chase back in situations like that, the coaching staff need to notice that and get him sooner. He has come under a lot of fire from fans in the last day or so who believe that he is another who will fall in the summer and is too damaged and not a ‘Rangers player’. I disagree with that viewpoint. I think Ryan Jack is capable of being a winning Rangers player, even captain, but what he has to do is get back to the Kevin Thomson-esc slide tackles and running and passing and…god I miss KT. But that is what Ryan Jack could (COULD) become if he worked out how to find that form again.
Steven Davis – 2.0 (3)
Come on Davis. This is serious now, we do actually need to get more from you now, you are better than this and you are someone who is key to making our current system work. So you need to snap out of the horror show of form that you have suffered lately, and to be honest if you don’t do it then you are in serious risk of being in the category of players who will go in the summer.
Scott Arfield – 3.4 (5)
Such an important player for the team at the moment, his driving forward and getting into those empty spaces to run amok have been vital for some games so far this year. So, of course, he manages to get injured in the first half and have to come off. Please for the love of god do not be out for too long, the last thing we need as an absent Arfield from what is already looking like a broken system.
Joe Aribo – 2.5 (4)
These kinds of games have never suited Joe Aribo, and it will require a lot of mental due diligence to get him to a point where he will be able to consistently play well in these kinds of games. There is also a very fair argument that he is being played in far too many positions at this point. He looks very handy in a deeper role on the left, he looks like he struggles in a central battle, and he will always cut onto his left foot when on the right so he can score or assist, he seems sans right foot at times. I did believe that his best position would be right winger, but maybe the isolation of the left back/left wing back role would be exactly his kind of game. Add in his trickery to beat a man, as demonstrated lately, and you have a great option in attack, plus someone he seems more content to play that way. Is Aribo at right wing simply a square peg in a round hole?
Greg Stewart – 2.1 (3)
What a chance for him here. And he blew it. None of the Alfredo Morelos drive. None of the Florian Kamberi movement. None of the Jermain Defoe instinct. He just looked like a lower level forward who had been drafted in last minute in the hopes that it would fill a very obvious gap. Did he get the right kind of supply? No. But there was absolutely nothing to be written home about regarding anything he did. Maybe it is a case that he just likes to play without pressure. Maybe that’s why he can grab two goals against Aberdeen and Hearts at Ibrox, when those games already looked done and dusted by the time he got going. Well, if that is the case then I’m sorry Greg but Rangers are always in a pressure cooker environment and if you cannot handle the pot when the heat is turned all the way up, then you are not what we need long term.
Ryan Kent – 2.2 (4)
Well, so much for thinking that a corner had been turned. We have talked a lot before about how Ryan Kent had been, that he was trying to hard and not using his head well enough. I think this regression is just testament to the way the whole team was here, but a better performance from Kent would surely help see us at least earn a replay…I hate myself for saying that but it is true. A lot of the support will turn to a player like Kent to be the inspiration for us in such trying circumstances, yet Kent was nowhere near ‘tearing apart’ levels. Do not make this the norm Ryan. You are so much better than that.
The Substitutes – ?
Ojo, Defoe & Hagi. No ratings were available for them but frankly they made zero impact on the game (that speaks more about Ojo considering how early he came on) so who gives a damn. I’m broken from going through those performances. Do you see what you have done Rangers!? You have broken me!