The morning after the night before, has anyone recovered yet?
This team have given us everything, they have a little bit of it all: Guts, Balls, determination, desire and what’s just as important, Quality.
It was a rollercoaster of emotions as at times we were absolutely sublime on the ball and others completely missing in defence. But what I have come to realise is this team don’t know when they are beaten and we can comment on the level of performance but they have that drive to succeed every legendary Rangers team have had.
BT sports intro promo asked:
‘For the time has finally arrived, our time, question is?: Are You Ready?’
Well as the game started I don’t think anyone was!
Rangers brought in Kemar Roofe who was clearly struggling and not right from the very get go. He lacked that sharpness and spark. Unfortunately for us and Kemar he would go off with a recurring calf problem which has hampered him in recent times.
But the change would see the arrival of Ryan Kent who brought such a difference to the evening’s entertainment. Ryan Kent has it all, he is so capable and I am unapologetically such a massive fan. With eight goals and eleven assists he is now beginning to show the numbers that we know he is capable of. Well on course to hit around a dozen goals and assists is only part of the story as he occupies his opponents for ninety minutes. What shouldn’t go unnoticed is the amount of work he puts in.
Kent gets unfair criticism because of the money we spent on him, truth is he will leave for more than double our outlay easily.
It was his intervention that turned the game in the final ten minutes but before that we have a lot to look at.
James Tavernier came off after a block challenge and the frustration of the recent Covid situation meant Nathan Paterson was ‘unavailable’. Leon Balogun came on for a starring role as he marauded up and down the right at every possibility. Sure he doesn’t have the final ball that Tav has but he was clever and carried the ball superbly, he deserves huge credit and that spirit is absolutely everything to what this side is.
The manager would tell Rangers official website;
“I am concerned for both sitting here right now – more concerned for Kemar just because he feels it is the same as a previous injury which he missed two to three weeks from.
“So we think he’s got a calf problem in-terms of the muscle, but we will have a look at it in the coming days with a scan.
“In-terms of James, we will have to wait and see. He has obviously gone in for the block tackle and has felt some pain in the knee area.
“So we will see how he settles down and we will get him scanned as well and go from there.
That’s the major issue from last nights game as the games now begin to come thick and fast. The squad will have to utilised but it is a chance again for Ianis Hagi or Scott Wright to make an impact. Defensively it is a worry and we have to hope the skipper is fit soon as no one deserves this next few weeks more than our captain.
What was prominent however was an outstanding Alfredo Morelos performance. He occupies defenders and uses his body so well. Assisting the first goal for Aribo, he showed maturity to knock it back so Rangers could take the lead. He then won the penalty moving superbly in front of De Laet whilst providing the ‘wall’ for a Kent 1-2 for our superb third. There was also time for him to burst down the right hand side and provide the cross for Kent to win penalty number two which Borna converted.
The official this time managed to spot that in what was a hugely erratic performance all round. The penalty Rangers conceded was beyond soft and compounded by VAR confirming the decision. Soft cautions to Borna, Arfield and Kent were angered further by failure to take action for poor challenges on Tavernier, Aribo and Morelos. Aribo taken out by De Laet who would later be cautioned for hauling back Alfredo and should have seen red.
In fairness he called the fourth penalty and VAR showed its worth to award our second after the official had missed it completely.
Rumours the SFA have asked him to take the next Old Firm match remain unconfirmed!
Mark Hateley, Alex Rae and myself discuss last nights win on our new podcast ‘The Rangers Connection’. Listen to it free on the link above.
But Rangers would triumph as they turned the game round in dramatic fashion. Borna Barisic has went full circle in his Rangers career from a player who looked scared to wear our jersey to a guy tucking away spot kicks and lording it in the face of a mouthy opposition goalkeeper.
He deserves the praise because he was at fault for our goal and did have the spirit and desire to storm back with a terrific second half.
But that just sums up this side, desire, character and a bucket full of heart.
BT Sport montage asked if we were ready, well we better prepare ourselves.
This team has it all and we stand on the brink of greatness and legendary status. There is still work to be done both domestically and in this European tie next week but this team deserves everything we will hopefully achieve in the coming weeks.
As for our manager Steven Gerrard, his European results are magnificent. 42 games, 23 wins, 14 draws and only 5 defeats. His 23 wins puts him level with Walter.
Quietly terrified? I think not.
On to Dundee United on Sunday but make no doubt about it;
This is our time and the Rangers are most definitely on our way.