Match Ratings – Rangers 5-0 Aberdeen
An excellent afternoon of football at Ibrox as Rangers well and truly sent Aberdeen back north with their tails firmly between their legs. With the Dons seeming to play a 9-1-0 formation (and that 1 was sitting rather deep anyway) Rangers had plenty of opportunities to create numerous chances, and we were clinical, converting five of our 25+ opportunities, and even then, 5-0 flatters Derek McInnes’ side. With the gap to the top now reduced, this was a real statement win, both in context of what else went on on Saturday, but also the difference in the game from our clashes with Aberdeen last season.
Allan McGregor – 7
With only one shot on target, and to be honest I cannot remember that, you cannot really say he had a massive impact on the game. Although, his desire for Rangers to keep attacking right at the end when on opponent was down shows how important he can still be even when he doesn’t need to perform his main goalkeeping duties.
James Tavernier – 8
As soon as we were awarded the penalty in the first half, thoughts immediately turned to who would step up to take the spot kick. Having missed his spot kick 9 days previously, many Gers fans expected a Morelos to step up in this occasion, but Tav was having none of that. The conviction in his first penalty really showed nerves of steel (imagine if he missed having taken it like that, no way he would continue taking them had that happened) and suddenly we saw a lot more confidence in his overall play. Like many of us in life, one confidence boost in one sector has a massive effect in many. He was so assured in fact, that he stepped up to take the second penalty, and again, found the back of the net with little fuss. That’s more like it, skipper!
Connor Goldson – 7
One or two suggestions that if there was one player who didn’t have a great day, it was Goldson. I can’t see why people need to be so critical of him for this game. He didn’t do anything that stood out of course, but he was steady enough and played simple passes to Tav and Jack. His defensive strength simply was not needed here, so I e no complaints over him here.
Nikola Katic – 7
Much to the delight of a great many Rangers fan, big Niko was back in the defence, and he got back to his most enjoyable trait, attacking the high balls and giving their lump up top no aerial joy. This was an ideal game for him to come back into in fact, and get a little bit of confidence back, let’s see if he can build on that, especially now that he knows the competition for that place he faces.
Borna Barisic – 8
His cross for our third goal of the game was simply sublime, lovely weight to it and Morelos could not have asked for a better delivery. This was a full package offering from the left back, good going forward and back, and was a lovely mirror for Tavernier. Much like the song says, as far as his Rangers career is concerned, he has turned the corner, and is going for it.
Ryan Jack – 9
Every single one of us was desperate for Jack to get a goal, that would have been this pretty perfect day even better, but despite the fact he could not find the net, he once again did everything else that he is being asked to do in that midfield, and did it superbly. He’s getting quicker, he’s equally as good a thinker of the game in both defence and attack. This is becoming the norm when it comes to Ryan these days.
Steven Davis – 9 – Man of the Match
It was a toss up between Ryan Jack and Steven Davis for who took the best player accolade here. I will agree with the decision makers at Ibrox and go with Davis, because I think you can say pretty much the same about his game as Jack’s, but what set him apart for me is the range of passes he produced, and the extremely high level of success that he had from them. Simply wonderful.
Scott Arfield – 7
Dropping back into the midfield again, he certainly had a better game here than what he did the last time he was found in the middle three, and yet I still feel that he is much better suited to playing higher up. We did see more intricate passing from him though, and he actually looked a bit sharper than what he has done of late, so maybe if this continues for a couple of games we will need to rethink where his best position is, again!
Greg Stewart – 8
Probably the biggest surprise about our line up was the inclusion of Greg Stewart, having hardly made a huge impression on the side up to this point. But, it was a good opportunity to impress against one of his former sides, and my goodness he took his chance. First to react to the loose ball following Joe Lewis’ excellent save from his own header to tap in his first goal for Rangers, and what a celebration that was by the way, and he was very unlucky not to grab a couple more with lovely curled efforts for the right on his left foot going just wide, and won our second penalty as well. Very much leaving the management team with food for thought after this showing.
Alfredo Morelos – 8
Yet another aspect of Big Buff’s game that we are maybe beginning to see is some leadership and communication skills. He was really directing a lot of the attacking play, speaking to Stewart and Ojo, and forming the attacking shapes that he desired. Does well in winning the penalty in the first half, and converts his goal very well from the Barisic cross. Like Jack, this high level of performance is just becoming the normality now.
Sheyi Ojo – 7
Shay Logan must have been delighted to see Ojo depart on the hour mark. Sheyi was beating the Aberdeen right back for pace in many an occasion, and the dribbles and runs he made here certainly added to our attacking threat. I think he was a bit unlucky to be taken off when he was to be honest. Had he stayed on I’m sure he would have grabbed a goal or assist toward the end.
Jermain Defoe – 8
It just feels like the expected thing when Defoe comes on, he is going to score a goal. He is taking on the role of super sub and making sure that the emphasis is on ‘super’. With the ball deflecting off the Aberdeen defended and breaking to Defoe, one on one with Lewis, he simply dinks the ball over the keeper to complete the scoring. Natural finishers are going to do their thing of course.
Brandon Barker – 7
Took on the task set by Ojo in making the life of Logan a tricky one, and although he maybe didn’t do this quite as well as his predecessor, he still showed bursts of pace, quite clearly his strongest quality. If he is to nail down a first time place however, he needs to show more than just speed.
George Edmundson – 7
Something that managers must love in a player is the ability to come on for a number of different positions off the bench. When he arrived, it seemed that Edmundson was purely going to be an option at centre back, the size of the boy the main evidence for this, but he looked very comfortable in the holding midfield role. He’s surprisingly quick when it comes to closing down players, and that strength can come in very useful in that position when it comes to seeing out games. You wonder whether his inclusion in the 18 will be more frequent now that this is an option that clearly works.