It’s been exactly two weeks since my last blog and on the face of it not a lot has changed as we sit exactly where we did at that time. But it has been a rollercoaster two weeks as we lost at home for the first time, drew in Dundee then exited out of Europe.
However, with Rangers defeating Hamilton yesterday it at least allowed Rangers to regain top spot as our rivals slipped up in the capital.
So it’s nice to once again be top but I think this time there is more of a realisation and less excitement than when we beat Hearts a few weeks ago. Perhaps there is a realisation that if we are to stay top we are going to have to produce a much better level of performance than we have since Tynecastle.
Aberdeen was a huge disappointment as Rangers were caught by a sucker punch and then looked lost of any ideas when it came to breaking the opposition down. It was almost a carbon copy of the cup game and to compound things we lost Alfredo to a stupid dismissal.
Dundee was once again similar, our opponents capitalising on a silly defensive error and then sitting in. Rangers facing ten men then lacked the cutting edge and we stuttered to a disappointing draw.
Still ten thousand fans travelled to Austria in the hope that the ‘real’ Rangers would turn up but were met with the same problems we had hit in the last few games, we have problems breaking teams down and creating that cutting edge. It’s been a long time since we seen a defence splitting pass like Graham Dorrans produced for Scott Arfield in Villareal.
The problems for Rangers are pretty obvious, we lack that killer moment from individual quality and if we aren’t firing on all cylinders then we can struggle to break down the opposition.
But championships are won when teams can grind out results, I’d settle for same results As yesterday as we head into a crucial crunch four matches.
They say games can define seasons, well the next four most certainly will.
Rangers did beat Hamilton yesterday and despite the lack of goals that we craved, the team did at least have the urgency and pressure we have demanded. The problem was evident in the last third again however as we missed that crucial spark and as the manager pointed out, the players will have to step up and want to score that crucial second goal.
It’s easy to see why the manager is looking to add Kieran Dowell and is his number one immediate target for January. The Everton England under 21 international has been pinpointed as the man to replace Ovie Ejaria who cut his loan short and returned to Merseyside.
Dowell is a natural number 10, more attacking than Ovie naturally was and perhaps almost more significantly loves a shot from outside the area. Exactly what the squad are missing and require. Rangers have already been in discussions over this so it will be interesting to see if any deal can be done.
Speculation remains over Steven Davis and it’s pretty clear from reports the player has set his heart on a return to his boyhood club. With Southampton happy to allow the player an exit free of any fee, it will be interesting to see if any move develops into something meaningful than the current speculation
Both players would boost the midfield and it’s pretty clear to me that this is where we are struggling at the minute. If we can fix that area and remain in contention when the league resumes, Rangers may just be able to sustain that title challenge we so badly need.
Europe was a financial boost but a clear burden on the squad. I think we done fantastically well to achieve group status but we undoubtedly blew a huge chance to progress when you look at the points squandered against Moscow and in Austria in the final group match. I am proud of the players efforts and I do believe we were ahead of schedule so early as a team, but equally as frustrated as any other supporter that we couldn’t progress.
January will be massive for the club and could be the difference between a good ‘stage building’ season and a very successful one. The board will allow the manager to recruit but we are also hindered by the legacy of the Caixinha era with thousands of pounds wasted on the likes of Carlos Pena. Whilst speculation of a return is being rumoured for the Mexican, after reading the managers comments I’d expect any chances of that to be a huge long shot. Moving on the Herrera’s and Pena’s of the squad will be crucial to our transfer plans both immediately and long term, neither have a future at the club unless there is a drastic change of circumstances
As we blogged in November, Rangers remain seemingly interested in Bosman moves for both Glenn Kamara and Jordan Jones. This has now been picked up on mainstream media so again will be interesting to see if anything comes of either move.
We may well be forced to bring in defensive cover if rumours of Nicola Katic’s unhappiness turn out to be true. Rumours of the Croatian’s home sickness and longing to return back to his native land have been around for the last few months, Rangers have strongly denied this however. It puzzles me that he went from mainstay to so far out the picture. It will be intriguing to see how that situation will unfold and if there are anything to the rumours
January will prove to be as big a rollercoaster as it is on the pitch these days but nothing is ever boring at the club we love.
What is important to highlight is the club are in a good place off the park and developments to Ibrox and the training ground continue. Endless speculation and mischief making that the board are dysfunctional are nothing but fantasy. The board remain together and committed to funding the gaps we require to take the club back to where we belong. They will never endanger or put the club at risk no matter what you may be unfortunate enough to read on social media
Good luck to the team in the next four matches as we head into the New Year, hopefully with Rangers remaining exactly where we are now, top of the tree
Best wishes to all our readers, followers and Rangers family over the festivities as we head into hopefully a successful 2019 for our club from all at 4lads
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