A return for two Ryans as Rangers remain four clear

Today we welcome Ross County to Ibrox Stadium as we look to consolidate our position at the top of the league before another International break.

Hopefully we have recovered from Thursday’s exploits in Denmark and I expect a few changes to the team. One or two are lacking consistency for me and that’s the obvious issue around us at the moment. The manager commented he may have to mix up his front line in the post match press conference, but I don’t think he got the selection wrong at all especially on the back of our best performance away to Motherwell. The central position is the one up for grabs for me but we will see how the manager goes.

There is positives from Thursday, the response the manager got and the very obvious welcomed point which leaves us with a ‘must win’ home tie shoot out with Sparta. After losing the first two games, that’s not a bad position to be in. The other huge plus being the return of Ryan Kent who even in thirty short minutes, showed what a talent he is. A lovely assist and we know what a boost he is to our team, it has been a long ten games without him.

But that’s a consequence to last season, ‘wear and tear’ of players, both physically and mentally, some of them look it also. But, on Thursday they did recover and we did respond so it’s no question of anything deeper for me other than players own form. We have to sort ourselves out defensively, going behind Ten times this season is far too many and the amount of goals shipped from corner kicks is far too high also.

I don’t suddenly believe we have regressed beyond repair, but there is no doubt it has happened naturally after an unbelievable season last year.

So today is one last effort before the break and Ross County are a side who will sit in to play for those set pieces, we will have to be on it today but I expect us to do that strongly.

The team, now announced, has a few changes and Rangers go with; McGregor, Tavernier, Bassey, Goldson, Balogun, Lundstram, Bacuna, Aribo, Hagi, Sakala and Kent.

So Bassey replaces Barisic at Left back. Midfield is all change, Hagi, Lundstram and a first league start for Bacuna. Very adventurous selection and nice chance to see Bacuna. Aribo, Kent and Fashion make up the frontline. Kent returning is a huge boost and on the bench, Ryan Jack returns for the first time in almost nine months which is also massive.

It’s an attacking line up so interesting to see how it all pans out, let’s hope for a good Rangers performance.

Let’s go!

First half action –

2 mins – Fashion breaks and Hagi is free in the middle, plays it in and Hagi is clear, he delays and it’s blocked out for a corner. 0-0

5 mins – GOAL! Ross County lead and it’s so poor, Hagi slack and short with Lundstram, Ross County rob it and through ball plays in Hungbo who slides home to score. Goldson looks deep and it looks onside. A comedy of errors and for the Eleventh time this season we are behind. 0-1

11 mins – Bacuna shot saved but Kent is starting to influence.

Caution 📒 – Jacovitti fouls Kent who goes on a run.

11-17 mins – Lots of Rangers pressure, Kent at the heart of it all, a few corners blocked but it is coming.

18 mins – Kent run again and this time it’s out for another corner.

GOAL! That corner produces a great header by Aribo who runs near post, great delivery by Tav – all square! 1-1

More Rangers pressure, it’s constant now and a Bassey run wins another corner.

30 mins – GOAL! A wonder strike by Ryan Kent which dips in under the bar in spectacular fashion. What a beauty that was and had me on my feet in the gantry! 👏🏻 2-1

34 mins – Two quick shots by Aribo and Bacuna are saved but it’s all Rangers.

36 mins – CAUTION 📒 Baldwin is cautioned a full two mins after pulling Sakala back by the neck.

41 mins – CAUTION 📒 Balogun goes in the book and that sums up a very poor afternoon for the official so far, he’s been erratic and inconsistent.

Half time – Rangers 2 Ross County 1

Half time thoughts

Lost a really sloppy goal but otherwise responded well. Seems a theme doesn’t it, spoke about it pre match but once again we go behind. Response is good and happy with that. But it shouldn’t have to be like that for us.

Ryan Kent back to his explosive best and has been a menace all game to the County defence, his goal was a cracker.

We’ve moved it well and lots of 2 vs 1 scenarios down the wings have brought us joy. It’s there for us to strengthen our position but need to be wary, County frontmen have pace.

Let’s kick on Rangers.

Second half action –

51 mins – GOAL! Juninho Bacuna with his first for Rangers after a lovely 1-2 with Joe Aribo. He takes it to edge of box and fires it beautifully home, he enjoyed that and it was a great strike! 3-1

52 mins – Great Sakala run and his shot is blocked after a terrific Hagi through ball, that corner leads to a whipped cross by Bacuna which narrowly goes wide.

57 mins – CHANCE! Should be 4 as Aribo plays a great through pass to Tav, he screws it wide and should have done much better!

60 mins – GOAL! Lovely sharp passing releases Aribo and Tav is free, his whipped low cross is deflected him for an OG by Jacovitti I think, well he’s getting the blame anyway! 4-1 and more goals here for us.

Substitution – OFF the superb Ryan Kent ON Kemar Roofe

64 mins – Great run by Bassey and Fashion shows a step over or two before hitting the keeper on the goal line. 4-1

68 mins – Fashion cuts in and his low drive hits the side netting. 4-1

70 mins – Substitutions – OFF John Lundstram and Leon Balogun, ON Nathan Patterson and Ryan Jack!

Ryan Jack is back!

75 mins – Lovely effort from Bacuna after a short 1-2 he bends it just over, he has done a lot of good attacking things today. Remains 4-1.

77 mins – CHANCE! Sakala robs the defender but Roofe gets in his way, he manages a shot but it is straight at the keepers feet, that’s unlucky to be fair. 4-1

87 mins – GOAL for County and it’s slack, Bassey who is at CB is caught by reverse pass and Jordan White fires home. Defensively so bad again. 4-2

88 mins – Hagi low cross is stabbed at goal by Roofe, keeper blocks and corner is run out by Ryan Jack after his shot is blocked.

Full time Rangers 4 Ross County 2

Full time reaction –

It’s a welcomed three points which restores our four point lead into the international break but it’s a two fold story. Some really nice and sharp attacking play but some brutally poor defending which leaked two poor goals.

The positives, 60 mins of brilliance from Ryan Kent and he was a really welcomed return. Followed by twenty minute cameo from Ryan Jack and both hugely welcomed into the squad again. Kents departure slowed our attack down and opportunity for more goals went after that but he showed a lot for the team. Ryan Jack will need minutes but his return is huge.

Defensively we are poor again, two really sloppy goals and that’s now eleven times we have went behind this season and only one clean sheet in the last Nine games by my count.

Attacking it was crisp and a lot of good stuff, Sakala a nuisance and Kent so bright but it was Bacuna who also starred scoring a great goal. Once again not a complete performance but positives also there so take it and move on.

A tale of two Ryans and a welcome return for both.

Attendance 49, 222

Motm Joe Aribo

Ignore the nonsense, the irrelevant and the noise 🔴⚪️🔵