Match Ratings – Motherwell 1-6 Rangers

folder_openMatch Ratings, Rangers FC

This was it. This was the game we have been waiting for. The game that saw us play much more like we know we can, scoring goals for fun, being far braver and more creative on the ball and stretching the opposition defence, all whilst extending our lead at the top of the table. The statement win where the fans can now base our next stretch of games off of, and that we believe we can now really push on. And we have another real fan favourite and hero as well. The draw on Wednesday was very sore, not only in respect of the emotion from us supporters, but also because it was again points that felt unnecessarily dropped and the fear was that we would go into this having to win to regain our place at the top. As things worked out, we would remain top and a win would help move us four points clear, where that breathing room can mean a lot to a team at the top. A few changes to the team which would be interesting in terms of the shape of the team, but the start to the game was a horrific one after we would fall behind after a corner, the concession of which was more ridiculous than the goal we conceded, and yet again we would fall behind in a game, a really bad habit for the team to have. It took a bit of time for the team to settle itself down and start using the ball better, and take advantage of the movement our front line was giving us. There were signs of potential, but then a cross from the left was beautifully volleyed home from the right, and the tide really did start to turn. Not long after, just before half time, scorer would turn provider with a fantastic cross and the eventual star of the show would head home to give us a half time lead, and the atmosphere from the numerous away supporters was suddenly in party mode, and you could feel like something was about to happen.

We have had a problem with starting second halves, as well as the rest of the remaining 45 minutes in fairness, in recent matches and what was vital to gain a convincing win was to keep up the attacking pressure and intent. A third goal would be crucial, and we got with a deflected strike, although taking the shot from range is something that must be celebrated in itself as we have not tried this enough of late, before another strike from outside the area from midfield put us in fantastic shape. But we did not stop there. A great chipped ball in from wide was converted on the volley by the now hat trick hero who deserves all the plaudits, with other players deserving a lot of praise in their own right as well. And two substitutes would combine to get the sixth, although the man with the assist will feel aggrieved that he did not get the goal himself. What a performance from the team, what a great feeling all of us fans had having finally seen our team wrack up the goals. What needs to happen is for the players who impressed to retain their place, and for the team to really keep that momentum going for the next few games. Do that, and we will be in a good place.

Here is how you rated our players from our thumping win at Fir Park.

Allan McGregor – 6.0 (6)

In a game where he wasn’t really tested from a certain point, we can only really look at what he did for the goal that we concede. A lot of people in the immediate aftermath felt that he could have done more from this, and perhaps he gets away with criticism due to how we ended up having to face the corner. Personally, I think he does well with the save as he has to react quickly and gets no help from the defence in front of him, and by the time he is up the Motherwell player has hit the resulting shot, again without much help from those defending. Whether he could have parried the ball further away or not, I’m not certain that’s something we can put too much criticism on him for in all honesty.

James Tavernier – 7.9 (8)

This game really is a fine way of describing how he has been for Rangers during his lengthy spell at our club. A moment he will be very disappointed in, followed by 3 direct goal contributions and many more positive moments, and really leading the team back to the levels expected. He really should deal with the ball which leads to the corner being given. He knows what is around him, and he needs to talk to Goldson a lot more, both in this instance and on the field in general. He didn’t hide afterward though, he put in a lot of crosses trying to get things going, before hitting a sweet volley from a cross via the opposite full back to set us on our way, one of the best goals we will see from us this season. That was followed by an excellent cross, finding the smaller Rangers player among three much bigger Motherwell defenders, to put us ahead in the game. The second half saw more intent to create, and he is on hand to provide one of the long range strikes in the second half, meaning he has now produced 99 assists. And it would have been 100 had Roofe not snuck in at the back post near the end. If you’re overriding emotion about the captain from this game is the error as opposed to what he does well, then you simply do not want to see him do well. A terrific performance.

Connor Goldson – 5.8 (6)

The lack of communication on the right hand side of our defence works both ways, and Goldson did not do well enough either with this. He has time to bring the ball away and clear the ball up field as opposed to what was a panicked header, and his defending of the corner itself was symptomatic of someone was out of confidence. Pre game we saw stats regarding the difference in his defensive output and it is fair to say they reflect how we have felt about him up to now. We need him to regain that composure from before, it feels very distant right now though.

Leon Balogun – 6.6 (6)

What Goldson is not doing well seems to be the thing that Leon does do well which is why he is looked upon so favourably by the support right now, and rightly so. Like so many, he did not cover himself in glory for the goal that Motherwell score, but otherwise it was an easy day for him and the fact he can often threaten by coming forward makes him a real asset to the team right now.

Calvin Bassey – 6.6 (7)

The cross he puts in for Tav’s goal is sublime, and absolutely deliberate as you can see him look up to where the skipper is before playing it. The best moment of his game by far, along with a few runs down the flank, one of which resulted in the red card for O’Donnell. His defensive stats in comparison to Barisic are a lot healthier, despite not doing at all well when defending the corner. I certainly feel comfortable with him continuing and am in no rush for Barisic to return as things stand, Calvin more than holds his own right now.

Scott Arfield – 6.7 (6)

His inclusion was interesting and the praise that Gerrard had given him for his sub appearances recently I think we perfectly justified. He did not do anything particularly noticeable on the ball, but his presence in the midfield and how he plays that position helped others flourish more. He is a positive influence on the team in terms of work rate, and it is little coincidence that the performance from the entire team was much improved with his first team start.

Steven Davis – 7.4 (7)

Welcome back Steven Davis, we have missed this version of you, and this really was a performance that you really think of when thinking of the best of Davo. As we started to kick on toward the end of the first half and throughout the second, Davis really set the tempo and was the conductor of the proceedings. He was also good at covering the defence, winning the ball back a lot more than some of his recent outings. His chipped ball for Sakala’s third was superb as well. He has won back that anchor position off the back of this, and I am sure he will do all he can to keep it that way.

Glen Kamara – 7.0 (7)

I was annoyed at the start he had to this game, felt he was too slow in releasing the ball forward and wasn’t coming forward with it the way I want him to in a game like this when he is in that position. However, as the team grew into the game, so did he, and he was marrying up the stuff he always does in games to good effect alongside the more commanding midfield display he is capable of. And for someone who rarely shoots, he has scored that kind of goal a few times for us now. A good low driven shot, where he sets himself exactly right to hit the ball.

Joe Aribo – 6.8 (7)

A lot of credit should go to him for the start of our comeback, as we needed someone to try something a bit different than the standard ball out to the right and look for Tav to cross it. He takes on his man and gets into the area, and even though he does not get the shot away, it showed that we would get more joy being more creative than just trying the same thing over and over again. I’d love him to shoot more if he can because he can be a proper threat if he allows himself the space and confidence to get a shot away. A game we can point to as an example of his preference to being in the final third.

Alfredo Morelos – 6.1 (6)

In comparison to so many others he did not play as well as he can do, but like Arfield his presence on the field helped us play the way we wanted to. That position should be for someone who plays like Morelos does, holding up the ball, looking to set plays going and be on the end of opportunities. He did not get as much joy on a few fronts but he had others around him to pick up the slack. I can see a straight battle between him and Roofe for that position for the next while.

Fashion Sakala – 9.2 (9) – Man of the Match

A special day for Fashion, and he has well and truly become a fan favourite, not only for his hat trick, but because he is just a lovely wee guy! His movement was so important, a real turn of speed and always thinking of how to create spaces in the backline to take advantage of. He then rises to meet the Tavernier cross brilliantly to head in and put us ahead, and you could see him relish the role he was given as someone cutting in from wider than playing as the top striker. He is not afraid to take a shot, and that was proven with his second, taking the shot on the edge of the area which finds it’s way in via a deflection. If you don’t buy a ticket, you won’t win the lottery. And the hat trick was secured after a chipped ball over the top and his movement proving profitable again to get on the end of it to tap in the volley into the opposite corner. He just has an energy and enthusiasm that this team will really benefit from, and this is exactly how you should play him as opposed to asking him to play that central role. For many reasons, I truly hope he carries on this form and is given the chance to flourish again and again.

Kemar Roofe – 5.8 (6)

He has a good habit of scoring goals coming off the bench, this one a fine example of what any good forward should do and what he is a specialist at. The corner comes in and it looks as though Simpson is heading it in, but Roofe is at the back post to tap the ball in from a yard out. The ball is safer where it is, no matter what, and Kemar will offer no apologies for adding to his goal tally for the season, nor should he.

Jack Simpson – 5.3 (5)

All the same, let’s spare a thought for Jack who seemed absolutely gutted to not have been the player who scored the goal. It’s a good header and I’m sure it would have done him the world of good to have that to his name, but he will have the assist.

Scott Wright – 5.3 (5)

He hit a shot from distance near the end which, had it gone in, would have been another goal of the season contender. He looked like someone very keen to show his own worth in the wider attacking role having seen what Sakala had done, and he is still an really great asset for the squad, without being at the point of someone who should be a consistent starter.

Tags: player ratings

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