A game that many fans expected would be either a very dull or very nervy affair, taking into account that we would need to absolutely collapse if we were to not advance to the Europa League Qualifying Play Off round. In reality, it was a breeze. Bar one very nervous moment at the start, Rangers controlled then attacked the first half, putting us 6-2 up on aggregate at the break. A goal a piece in the second half, with the side no doubt looking toward the excitement of a League Cup tie against East Fife on Sunday, we dropped the intensity, but the job was done. Some player really stood out, do you agree with who I have picked as top performers?
Allan McGregor – 8
Pulled off some excellent close range saves early in the second half. Their striker looked ready to absolutely clatter him, so the mind games clearly worked. Just wish that when a player does get booked for challenging him that he just walks away rather than risk getting booked himself. But I loved the fact that he he furious at conceding a goal, and that demand for perfection rubs off on his defenders too.
James Tavernier – 7
Had a real battle against the Midtjylland left wing back, and in the main he managed to deal with him. In an attacking sense he did his usual, wasn’t really involved in any of the goals however, not that he should be criticised in any way for that.
Connor Goldson – 9
Absolutely magnificent defensive shift, gave their attackers absolutely no joy. Was mentioned to me before about his distribution, and when you pay attention to that aspect of his game then you notice just how good it actually is. But he was strong in the tackle, big in the air, and relished the occasion.
Nikola Katic – 7
He is a defender who absolutely loves to get up for aerial challenges. If Rangers are playing against a team with a big man up top, play Niko, because he will look to head every single ball. On the deck he was ok, although it’s his side where we concede the goal unfortunately.
Jon Flanagan – 6
We’ve praised Flanagan the last couple of games for being more defensively solid and excuse his lack of quality because “that’s what you are going to get from him.” He was really exposed in this game though, against quick wingers who would happily move the ball past his left (his weaker side remember) and put in low balls. Also, without Aribo, you do notice a lack of decent attacking option on the left hand side out with our left winger.
Ryan Jack – 8
He is working it out now. What he wants to do is collect the ball and move forward with it, play the ideal pass and either allow others to push up or join the attack. The fact that he will stick to this mandate will greatly benefit him, his problem before was feeling like he had to do too much. And again in this game he played the right balls and played with a purpose, and did very well defensively too.
Steven Davis – 8
Against Hibs, the best thing Davis did was distribution. Here, it was winning the ball back, being a nuisance for the Danish midfield, and for a guy of his age he is deceptively quick, a very nice holding midfield performance.
Glen Kamara – 8
His inclusion was clearly about being an extra solid presence in the middle, and you would have to say it worked. Our opponents did not do anything particularly noticeable in the middle, because having someone like Kamara in there with his strength does nullify that. He played some really key passes too which contributed toward goals, so he did very well in a role I don’t know whether he will play a lot in this season, rather we may see him more in the Davis position more.
Scott Arfield – 8
I’ve heard people say that again Scott Arfield did not play as well as we would expect. I would disagree however. We know what we can expect from him, but if you focus more on just this 90 minutes he made himself very busy and his willingness to win the ball back makes the second goal ultimately. Yes there were a couple of times (again) where he is centimetres from making great plays but he just couldn’t quite make it happen, but these are the kind of games he will do very well in.
Alfredo Morelos – 9
Two goals, tricky finishes for lesser strikers than him, top scorer in the Europa League so far, and so important in fact that when he looked to really do himself in after colliding with the hoardings, people were only looking at him rather than the game to see if he was ok. Thankfully, he was, and when you look at his link up play with Ojo and how tough a job he made it for the likes of Scholz and Sviatchenko (haha) then yeh, excellent work again Big Buff!
Sheyi Ojo – 9 – Man of the Match
Three goals that are all massively credited to Sheyi. Good presence of mind to find Morelos for the first (even though Alfie still has a lot of work to do to turn it into a goal) and a classy finish for the second as well as the third again coming from a low cross from Ojo. He looks a lot more confident now, and maybe he just needs that wider space, like an Ibrox rather than a Rugby Park, to really show his best. He showed it here.
Jordan Jones – 7
Came on and had a few threatening runs which advanced us up the park. Tricky to really make an attacking impact when the game is as done as what it was, but he nevertheless made the effort.
Greg Docherty – 6
Just wonder whether his presence rather than Jack’s was the catalyst for the game dipping from our point of view. Hope he can start in Fife and remind us of his qualities.
Jermain Defoe – 7
Thought Defoe did very well when he came on, moved the ball nicely and was unfortunate not to get a goal. Decent contribution for minimal time on the field.