Match Ratings – Rangers 2 – 0 Progres Niederkorn
When you got sequels in action movies, the title usually comes with a “This time, it’s personal!” tag line. It certainly felt like that when we took on our foes from 2 seasons ago, with the atmosphere in the baking heat (has Ibrox ever been as hot!?) being electric from the get go. Our team reciprocated this, certainly at the start of the game, and it is a better lead that we take to Luxembourg than last time round. But it should have been more, and the frustration that we haven’t killed the tie now when we should have may well cloud my judgement with how some of our players performed. That and the heat, I don’t do well with this humidity.
Allan McGregor – 8 – Man of the Match
The best goalkeepers can go through a game with very little to do, but when they need to be alert and make crucial saves. McGregor is one of the best at doing this, and the save he made when the Progres attacker was one on one with our goalie was both magnificent and vital for how we view this tie. An away goal would have left us feeling a lot more concerned about next week, but his second half display in terms of shit stopping is what will likely see us through to the third round, which is why he gets my man of the match award. He could have had a higher score, but for his distribution which at times didn’t help his defence, but he can do that every week if he is going to pull off the saves again.
James Tavernier – 6
This is not based on his penalty miss. Well, not fully, but a third goal makes us all feel a lot better about this game. He is so consistent from the spot, but this miss I think summed up his night to be honest. Yes he is part of a defence that keeps another clean sheet, great, but a lot of the Progres attacks in the first half came down our right and Tav struggled to deal with that at times I thought. His crossing was not great either, and too often we looked to that option, and I was disappointed that he didn’t try to be a bit more creative, get to the bye line, try a shot. A bit too automatic for me, and he has had and will have many better games than what he had here.
Connor Goldson – 7
Thought he was good in the first half but seemed to fade in the second half a bit, was absent when Progres had a couple of good opportunities. But in the main, he did his job, and I believe he led the line well other than the afore mentioned issues. Showed a bit more of his passing prowess too.
George Edmundson – 8
Best game he has had for Rangers so far. As well as the passing which was a very useful tool for us, he showed speed and determination to get back and defend. He’s not one to make rash decisions either, was an ideal defensive performance. He will be seen by many as our fourth choice centre back, but playing that well will make Steven Gerrard think.
Andy Halliday – 7
He’s another player who had a better first half than second. His inclusion was one of the most intriguing but a couple of times he found himself in the box and on another night he could have had a goal and an assist. He looked like a man who really wanted to right a wrong, but in the second half he looked less assured and we saw a bit of the Halliday many expect, a good squad player but not an ideal first choice.
Ryan Jack – 7
There was a spell in the second half where everything was going through him, and he looked very good in that spell. However, for many other parts of the game his passing was slack and he frustrated. I did notice that he was doubled up on at times though, so you can maybe cut him some slack in that respect. I’ve heard a few people suggest he was our best in the game, I would not say that, he was fine overall.
Steven Davis – 7
Yet another player whose first half was better than his second. In the first, he once again was tracking back and dictating the play, an excellent display where it was nice and simple. The second, he lost concentration and gave the ball away for the best Progres chance. Were it not for McGregor, the blame would have been placed at the feet of Davis, so from his point of view it’s a big thank you to our keeper.
Joe Aribo – 8
Once again, you have to admire the kind of player we have here. Taking ownership of the game, and taking on the shot in the first half, which was the first time we were much more direct in the match, was exactly what we needed and it was a lovely finish. The second half saw less of that aspect, but that did not stop him contributing and fighting for possession and looking for options. One of the big differences from two years ago to now is we have a player like that he can be our midfield maestro. Well, actually we did in Niko Kranjcar, only this time we have a player who is going to be even better as time goes on, rather than a pensioner.
Sheyi Ojo – 7
This was a good goal, and again was from a more direct bit of play. On the weak foot, drilled past the keeper, another type of goal he can score as well as the Arjen Robben style goal. Other than that? Yeh he put himself about, but we’ve seen him play better I think. A lot of the time it was down to lack of luck, it just didn’t fall for him, but I hope that if that happens again this season, he will take more ownership and try create something from nothing, he is capable of that.
Alfredo Morelos – 6
Serious question. What did Alfie actually do? My main memory of his game was a fizzing shot that went over the bar. Yes he was on the end of an attack which was called for offside, that happened a couple of times I think, but the big thing that annoyed me from him was waiting for too long to take the shot on. Their keeper would have struggled had Morelos taken a shot on, but too many times he wanted to be too clever and lay it off. Just shoot! He also didn’t have the physical presence that we know he can give us too.
Scott Arfield – 6
Arfield was also guilty of the “not shooting when he really should have” crime. He got himself into decent positions but that counts for nothing if you can’t capitalise on them. He was brought off fairly early into the second half do had little opportunity to make an impression, but he’s still a bit behind the other in regards pre season so there is no reason to panic as you can fully see him at full speed being a lot more clinical in those areas.
Jordan Jones – 7
Comes off the bench and caused they’re right back havoc. Wins the penalty through his direct running and really should have been awarded a second. So he did very well in that respect, if only he could have cut inside and try a shot or two as well.
Jermain Defoe – 6
By the time he entered the fray it was a very different and difficult game to make an impact on. He did help get their player sent off, so that’s something, but never had a shot in anger in his brief cameo
Greg Stewart – 6
I don’t remember him having a touch of the ball to be honest. Was on very late on though so it’s not fault of his