Having driven up to Dingwall on many an occasion, I am fully aware of the length of time it takes, so first of all, massive credit to bears who made a much longer than normal journey for an away game, especially on a colder evening. What would have warmed the supporters hearts was the excellent display we put on to secure a routine away victory, with some absolute stand out individual displays.
Wes Foderingham – 7
The easiest job possible for our stand in keeper, with the main opportunity for Ross County coming from a shot which slowly made its way onto the post and wide. No issues with his use of the ball, a standard night and an ideal one for a player coming in from the cold, into the freezing!
James Tavernier – 7
With eyes very much upon him, I thought we saw a straight forward night from the captain. No major mistakes, positioning was good and, again, he did not hide. And he plays an important role in goal number four, all good. Unfortunately, what he will likely be remembered for from this game are wayward passes and slips from crosses, so we maybe aren’t quite at a full return to former form just yet.
Connor Goldson – 7
At the start of the game there was maybe a concern that, up against big physical strikers, Goldson might have one of his more tricky nights. Although it looked like it could be very well be that very scenario, once we took total control of the game, it became a breeze for the central defender, with no major talking points to speak of, in a good way, but his passing was really good here.
Filip Helander – 7
You can say pretty much exactly the same about Helander and Goldson, although for me I find that much more encouraging for the big Swede. He also played some good solid passes, as well as winning so many aerial balls in the County box. We can think back to Livingston and remember his difficulties on an away ground against a different kind of opposition from what he seems to thrive against. This was much better than Almondvale, that’s for sure.
Borna Barisic – 7
I did wonder, with it being a tight pitch, whether Borna might not have the same success as he has done recently. He looked absolutely fine I thought, no bother against Ricky Foster (boo) and he may well have had more joy against a flagging opposition had he not been subbed off as early as he was. He had a bit of a limp as he departed which is my overriding concern when it comes to him right now.
Ryan Jack – 10 – Man of the Match
Not once have I given a player as high a score as 10 this season. I was told in no uncertain terms that such a score was saved for Brian Laudrup in cup finals. However, I’m going to take it upon myself to break that rule for Ryan Jack here is this was quite simply the complete midfield performance. Immediately, his presence in the middle seemed to make our side a whole lot calmer. His passing, the way that he continues to create these triangles in the midfield to make the ball do the work, and the opposition more, is excellent. He was strong in the tackle, he demanded possession. And to top it all off, he scores two excellent goals from outside the box, the second my favourite due to the curl he gets on it, but the first was just as precise. It is scary how much he has improved of late, and the fact he can now boast a decent finish on top of everything else, including a lot of leadership qualities, and he has to be seen as a vital element of our side now.
Glen Kamara – 7
He maybe will not get the headlines, but Kamara in this role is very solid I think, as was again the case here. Not that Ross County had dynamic attacking midfielders that were going to make his life harder or anything, but it’s maybe something that should be considered in terms of our opposition going forward. When we are against a high quality side, him being on the left of a three makes sense as he is capable of tracking back, being strong, and moving the ball on. We don’t need that kind of player for that area of the pitch against a Ross County, but he can do the holding role for us, especially with more advanced midfielders in front of him.
Joe Aribo – 8
Playing a lot further forward than what he has done recently, without actually being one of the inside forwards, and it makes such a difference to his game when he isn’t inhibited by tracking back. Now, it could also be said that he is merely streaky at this early stage of his Rangers career, but it cannot be denied that the best we have seen of him has come from situations where he is more advanced. He is involved in a number of our goals, assists and second assists aplenty, and he looked busier and so much more dangerous. The physicality of his game can often be overlooked but it seemed to really make a difference for us in this game I thought.
Sheyi Ojo – 8
For me, this is the biggest surprise of the game, and a pleasant one at that. The key to Sheyi Ojo having a much better game than what he has had in a good while was much better decision making. It was almost like he was going through the game thinking “remember, the simpler the better”. There was also a better defensive shift from the winger. He plays to excellent passes that set up two goals, and was unlucky not to score a goal before that. For many, the issue will be that this kind of game comes once in a blue moon, but if he can replicate this over the next few games then fans will certainly begin to cut him some slack.
Alfredo Morelos – 9
Once again, we can talk about Morelos converting two excellent goals, both with similar build ups, but each with a different foot. The first goal is a tap in, but what’s great from Morelos is reading the situation and knowing that the ball is going to be in that area and getting there for the simple finish. The second is a classy finish with the weak foot. Not much more you can say for him other than he gives you the full package as a striker. And his desire to keep on going is so great too, his genuine annoyance at being subbed off was really heart warming.
Scott Arfield – 6
It seems quite harsh to find a disappointment from such a pleasing evening, but Scott Arfield once again had a quiet night. He wasnt involved in anything good for the team, he played too many slack passes which would lose us possession, and although he ran about the pitch a bit, he still is not having is strong an impact as someone of his obvious ability should.
Andy Halliday – 7
Makes a surprise appearance from the bench and didn’t do a whole lot wrong, didn’t need to stretch himself either to be fair, seeing as Ross County looked as good as done by that point. He does get a more positive mark purely for the silky step over he produced though!
Jamie Murphy – 7
I would also give a solid mark to Murphy here as he would incisive runs out to the byline which, even though nothing really came of it, is still to be applauded as he at least is attempting to make something happen, Scott Arfield take note.
Jermain Defoe – 6
There is perhaps an expectation that Defoe coming on for 20 minutes means we can expect a goal or two from him. Didn’t happen on this occasion, but again the game was dead and buried by that point so to an extent the team were simply seeing out the contest with minimum fuss.
Player ratings from Rangers win over Livingston at Ibrox.