Match Ratings – Progres Niederkorn 0 – 0 Rangers
It was a different kind of viewing for me as for the first time I went to an away game in Europe. With the 2 goal advantage in place going into the tie, there seemed little in the way of fear amongst the supporters gathering in the main square. Indeed, the march to the stadium, lead by the Union Bears, was a really great experience to be involved in. Sadly, that was the best performance and by far the most exciting event of the evening as Rangers toiled to a goalless draw in Luxembourg, with individual performances certainly not what have seen in the previous 1600 friendly games at Ibrox so far this term. So, from my standing position in the Stade Josey Barthel, surrounded by half eaten hot dogs and about a million wasps, here are my ratings for this match.
Allan McGregor – 7
Again, a clean sheet to look back on which is something you will always take from your goalkeeper, but a couple of nervy moments in the second half gave a lot of fans the fear that a repeat of two years ago was not on the cards.
James Tavernier – 7
Decent enough crossing, mainly, and I didn’t think it was his side that was causing us problems defensively, but we didn’t really see anything in the way of a major attacking threat which really is what he is there to provide. Connor Goldson – 6 A few too many defensive errors that made things unnecessarily tense for Rangers, as well as not converting an easy headed opportunity, mean this will not be looked at as one of his more dominant defensive displays.
Connor Goldson – 6
A few too many defensive errors that made things unnecessarily tense for Rangers, as well as not converting an easy headed opportunity, mean this will not be looked at as one of his more dominant defensive displays.
Nikola Katic – 7
Thought he was the more solid of the centre backs, won his defensive challenges in the air, made himself hard to get past, but he also spurned a good headed chance at goal. He must be rather scary to come up against in a game though, which will always be on his side.
Borna Barisic – 6
Only got one half of this game, and I know that it was to protect him as he was on a booking, which was absolutely ridiculous by the way, but still, we saw absolutely nothing from him. A free kick, in probably the most ideal position for his left foot, skied over the bar, and no one was overly shocked by that. We need better from him.
Ryan Jack – 6
I get very confused by Ryan Jack sometimes. I never truly know where it is he wants to play, how Gerrard wants to use him, whether he is a playmaker, a box to box, or a holding midfielder. I think he played in this game like someone who does not know the answers to those questions either. You would like to think that when that decision is made he won’t be so confused/confusing.
Glen Kamara – 7
Thought he cleaned up fairly well deep into their half, and was not terrible with his passing, but it wasn’t a fully dominant display. In fairness that’s not been present so far this season, but he is maybe beginning to show signs he’s getting back to that level again, which would be very nice to see indeed. His inclusion over Davis should have been a major worry as to how this game was going to play out though, not as creative.
Joe Aribo – 8
Man of the Match This was another really smart display from Aribo. I got to see how good he is up close with his ball control, he doesn’t panic and you get the feeling he knows exactly what he wants to do a very long time before he does it. Had we absolutely needed a goal I am sure he would have been heavily involved in that, but he did what he needed to do and was the only bright spark of the evening.
Sheyi Ojo – 6
It’s all fine and well having pace and power, but that counts for nothing if you are not using it right. Was it a case that he was trying too hard? Or is he getting slightly complacent after his very promising start. When a defence is as stuffy as Niederkorn’s was, then you need to have variety from what you do on the wing. Don’t know if we have seen that variety yet.
Jermain Defoe – 6
It’s not his fault that he didn’t get a higher rating, but he just didn’t get the service that he needed, and on the odd occasion that he did get the ball in the area by chance, he was likely so surprised that he got the ball that he had no time to react to it. Again, not his fault.
Scott Arfield – 6
Saturday night and I like the way you move…or do I? Well, yes. But not so in this game. Pot shots and trying to be clever when the more conventional route would have been far better, one of a number of players that you look back on and think he just had a “meh” kind of night.
Andy Halliday – 7
I hope this isn’t staunch-tinted glasses talking here, but Halliday did a lot more a left back than Borna did I thought. More defensively robust, which I always want from my full backs, and there was more intent behind his distribution. A fair half performance I thought.
Greg Docherty – 6
Had little time to make a real impact on the game but he at least brought a presence to the middle of the park that we had conspired to require near the end of this contest.
Alfredo Morelos – 6
The Chinese club Alfredo was linked with this week was Hebei China Fortune. Ironically, he could have used some fortune with the two great chances he had to put some gloss on the evening. I guess you could say they were well defended, but still, you would want your star striker scoring them.