Our run of great European results continued as Rangers defeated Lech Poznan by a goal to nil to claim 6 points from 6 in Group D in this seasons Europa League. A game that on paper was likely to be the easiest of the six ties, but the Polish side made our team work very hard for the victory by being stubborn in defence and dangerous on the counter attack, akin to how we play in parts. What did not help us either was the fact we played to a lesser level as well, but that may have been down to the frustration caused by Poznan. What was so heartening to see was we adapted to what we were up against in the second half, and a lot of credit has to go to the management and coaching staff for recognising what we needed to do, and a substitute made the key contribution by scoring the only goal of the game, which loosened the tap and saw us play a little bit better from there on in, against a Lech side who had by that stage used up their energy without managed to get that elusive goal.
Even though this was not as good a performance as we have had in recent weeks, it’s that ability to change things up that is the biggest plus point of the night. Whether a full Ibrox would have been a hindrance to the side with the inevitable groans is a question we will only be able to answer when we do get back to our spiritual home. But do not let anyone tell you otherwise, we are a very good team at home this season of seasons. Evidence? We have won every single game.
Here is how you rated the players from Thursday nights win.
Allan McGregor – 6.3 (7)
Poznan did not have a shot on target in the game, surprisingly. Therefore McGregor was not really “tested” as such but it would seem harsh to rate him lower as a result, as he was always alert to the danger and recovered the ball a number of times when it was in and around the penalty area. Job done.
James Tavernier – 6.8 (7)
He didn’t score? Useless! Such are the expectations of our fans for our skipper, although in fairness we did not get a penalty in this game (the European referees clearly did not get the memo) but his passing was still accurate and he had on average a better time of it defensively than not, although it was a harder task for him on this occasion, probably why he did not do quite as much in an attacking sense on this occasion.
Connor Goldson – 7.3 (7)
Leader. A really solid defensive shift, recovering the ball on many occasions and strong in the tackle. His passing was also very consistent, and it doesn’t seem to matter who he plays alongside in the defence, he will look very assured and comfortable regardless.
Leon Balogun – 7.1 (7)
The Polish attack got no joy against Leon, whether it be in the air or on the deck. If they were going one on one against him, they had no chance because Balogun looked really up for the challenge and he passed that challenge beautifully. He, along with Goldson, perhaps does not get rated as high because Poznan still had a number of chances, none particularly dangerous. But this interchange between Helander and Balogun is definitely doing the trick at the moment.
Borna Barisic – 7.6 (8)
Is he back? I’d like to think so. Because it usually just takes one magic moment for Borna’s wand to get back firing again, and his cross to set up the goal was magnificent. To find your man in that area with that many defenders around is such a good piece of skill. Here’s hoping he can keep that going now. Oh, and anyone telling you he cannot defend is talking out their bum. He can and he did a great job of it.
Scott Arfield – 6.1 (6)
A tougher night for Scott, did not win his midfield battles as much and was not allowed to provide that attacking influence his role expects. Had a couple of shots but nothing remarkable and was sacrificed late on to see out the game. He has more than enough credit in the bank to allow for a lesser game on this occasion though, so no worries whatsoever.
Steven Davis – 6.5 (7)
Because the possession stats show as pretty much 50-50, it is easy to turn around and ask Davis to help in the midfield battle. But to be honest in terms of what his job is I think he does it. Plenty of spreading the ball around, plenty of covering certain areas, I thought he did what you would expect of him.
Glen Kamara – 8.2 (8) – Man of the Match
He dominates his area, and is feeling more empowered to push further up and perform like he does for his national side. This is exactly what we were asking for from Kamara for a long time, during that period when people were asking about what his purpose really is. It’s to dominate. And he was magnificent at that here. Long gone are the days of the short passes in his own half. He is braver now, he is smarter now. He is a much better player now. And is doing it consistently.
Ianis Hagi – 5.6 (5)
For a player of his ability, to have as many passes as he played to not find your man is concerning. It’s clear what he is trying to do and you cannot fault his effort, but the problem is his output is just not there. Nevertheless he still has a number of assists, some crucial ones at that, so his worth to the team is still obvious. But this was not the day for him.
Kemar Roofe – 6.0 (6)
Seems so strange that on his return to the starting line up as the main striker, his only attempt at goal was an overhead kick that he should have left for his incoming teammate. This was not the return to action he would have envisaged, and his performance was outshone by the man who came on for him halfway through the second half.
Ryan Kent – 5.8 (6)
It could have been oh so different had Roofe left that ball for Kent to run onto rather than try the spectacular. Had Kent put that chance away it would have ended this run he has been on where there has been a lack of output. That has continued again in this game. He is always good for a dribble past an opponent, that is a given, but he does not test the keeper, there are no chances that he creates to speak of, we are still in the midst of a run where he is on the field, but not contributing to the point we would want him to.
Alfredo Morelos – 7.5 (7)
Any player who has been on a dip in form for a sustained period need only look to guys like Borna Barisic and Alfredo Morelos to see that ruts can end. Comes on and provides the key moment by heading the excellent cross from the left in to give our side the lead. Even outwith that, he is far more threatening in front of goal than any of the players who started the game, it’s one of the best substitute performances he has ever had for us. With that, he for me is the starting striker again. Kick on from here, Buffalo!
Joe Aribo – 5.7 (5)
Comes on and has a chance to make the scoreline look more comfortable and familiar for us but can’t convert it. But the game was quite straightforward from there on in, and he played better than the man he replaced according to the ratings.
Brandon Barker – 4.6 (5)
I think people just want to be harsh on Barker for the sake of it. Some have rated him a 4 here, seems unfair on him despite having hardly any time to make an influence.
Ryan Jack – 5.4 (5)
Comes in to see the game out in the middle, always a good option and for the time being this should be his purpose in this side.