Rangers made their competitive season bow last night as we welcomed FK Shkupi to Ibrox. In what was the management’s first taste of things ‘for real’. There has been a lot of reaction on social media to the game but the gaffer has spent the best part of the summer going on about the need for patience, this is even more evident after the game last night.
First of all the result itself was a good one, to win 2-0 at home in Europe should be regarded as a positive. No away goal for Shkupi was vital as much as the second goal was, right at the death. The Macedonians rarely threatened but were organised and tough to break down, you could clearly see why they had ended their own domestic league eight games unbeaten. But in all honesty they were nothing special and the tie really should be put to bed and Rangers will look at that as an opportunity missed. But it shouldn’t be underestimated how difficult it is to break down a team who simply park the bus and have no interest in going forward, but for bad finishing we could and should have blown them away in one tie.
What it does give Steven Gerrard and the players is another competitive match, which given the intensity it will be played in is a good thing for where we need to get too. The players need that to get up to speed, it was only the third game that they played together so we have to be patient and realise that. The more games together the more we will see a progression amongst the players.
Gerrard is bringing a new philosophy along with new ideas to the squad. It won’t happen overnight and we have to remember that, this squad will take time to gel and hit its stride. Gerrard will have learned a lot from the 90 minutes last night and the so will the players. I expect that the more time goes on and the more this team develops the fluidity will come.
But we can be happy with the amount of chances we created, Josh Windass in particular could have had a hat-trick of headers, for example, and on another day we could have been coasting. I would hope that the ruthlessness needed will come and the chances will be put away, perhaps Umar Sadiq is the answer or perhaps another forward or winger yet to arrive may provide that spark.
I don’t believe that this team last night will be a reflection on the season ahead at all, I still think there is a number of changes in that side. Lassana Coulibaly will come into the team and be a starter, I don’t see Candeias or Windass being the long term solutions in either of those positions they have started in the last few games. This is still very much a work in progress but we have to remember that it’s only game three and things aren’t rigid or set for the team or the management.
So with all that said we head to Macedonia for the second leg on Tuesday and hopefully the players will close the tie out and get the required result. With heat it will be a challenge but hopefully the players will begin to gel just a little bit more again
At the training centre today a youthful side lost a closed door game 1-2 against Blackpool. Starting that game included Declan John, Wes Foderingham and Greg Docherty. Information is difficult to obtain given it was merely a training game away from an audience or cameras, hopefully more information will come later.
With nine new faces in the door there continues to be a number of rumours floating around and it’s worth while touching on one of them as it refuses to go away.
Steven Davis has been heavily linked now with the rumours going through the roof at the weekend. This prompted us to look into it and we had a strict denial from both Rangers and Southampton. Indeed a friend of the blog even spoke to Steven’s family who categorically denied it. I tweeted out that both clubs were heavily denying it and no interest at all apparently. Indeed they pointed out there had been no contact at all and even if it was a ‘done deal’ why would he be in China currently with Southampton.
However these rumours persist and this is very similar to the Jon Flanagan situation where the club heavily denied the rumours only for it to turn out to be very true. Worth saying that quite a few believe this is a ‘done deal’ despite both clubs reaction. What I try to do is give out the best information available, no journalist will touch it because both clubs are heavily denying it which is why you haven’t read about it in the tabloids
What I have learned this summer is not to discount anything.
So with the bid for Jake Cooper apparently still ongoing and regular contact with Millwall being made, that seems like the most logical next arrival if we can get an agreement with the club. I’ve been reading quite a few Millwall supporters comments and it’s interesting to see how upset they are at potentially losing the player. I don’t believe we will spend the best part of £8 million pounds on three players to leave anyone out which brings me back to what I wrote above about this formation and management not being rigidly stuck to anything.
I suspect we are still at least 3 arrivals away from being finished in the transfer market. More patience is required whilst that happens and the management find exactly what they want from our side and the players settle into life as Rangers players.
The management will know that improvement is needed but this is only the start of the Steven Gerrard era. I believe this management team will get it right and I do believe we are on the right track.
For now we can be happy at the result of last night and acknowledgment that there is plenty still to happen. Let’s look forward to Tuesday where the positivity and momentum can continue to build.
Ignore the nonsense, the irrelevant and the noise 🔴⚪️🔵
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