Today is the first of many huge matches in the month of April. Arguably it starts with the biggest. This is a must win. A draw would leave us facing an uphill task, a defeat and it’s almost certainly the end of any championship defence, a win and it’s game on for the title.
Celtic come here today and have shown a level of performance and consistency to be confident. In many ways they know it’s all there for them with the above in mind. They have a good attacking side, I don’t think there is any point denying that, but they also leave a lot of chances available for the opposition should that opposition be brave enough to find them.
I believe they will come at us, attempt to smother and attack us from the off, we have to learn our lesson and take the press aggressively to them. We are a different side to the one that played them almost two months ago to the day and that result should fuel the fire of revenge if nothing else does.
Celtic will play high, we must press and counter press as a unit, especially onto their centre backs who will look to dictate the play to the wing backs and wide men. What we must do is not be afraid and sit back, Bodo proved recently exactly how to play them and on the back of our performances in Europe I believe we have the recent experience of how to counter this.
Whilst we know what they are going to do, I’m not sure we are so predictable. Alfredo being out is a huge blown but we have shown a flexibility to formation and tactical in game fluency so that is somewhat unpredictable. Rangers though have Balogun, Jack, Ramsey, Lundstram all available for selection from the last fixture and are not as soft centred. We have shown in Dortmund how to play and press teams so this will be the exact same.
It’s huge, win or bust for our players and if we perform as we can, learn our lessons from before, then we can hurt them and I’d hope we can pick up the victory.
Rangers line up: McGregor, Tavernier, Bassey, Goldson, Balogun, Lundstram, Jack, Ramsey, Roofe, Kent, Aribo.
Good luck to the famous 🔴⚪️🔵
First half action –
1 min – Early fk floated in by Tavernier and Balogun close at back post.
2 mins – GOOOAAALLLLL! Rangers lead! Bassey plays the ball inside Juranovic and Kent squares to Ramsey to score! 1-0!
7 mins – Goal! 1-1. Hatate shot is fumbled out by McGregor and following shot blocked before Rogic plays into an empty net. Rangers let McGregor run to far and we then don’t clear our lines.
10 mins – Ramsey chance 1-1 but flag is up for offside.
18 mins – Jota drives an effort over.
32 mins – Rangers first corner which Balogun forces towards goal and it’s cleared.
36 mins – CHANCE! Maeda clean through and McGregor stops well, Bassey clears after a Goldson block.
37 mins – CHANCE! Giakoumakis heads a Jota cross wide.
39 mins – CHANCE! Maeda again in as Tavernier tries to match the run, McGregor again does enough but we are living on lives here.
43 mins – CAUTION 📒 Lundstram goes flying in and gives away a needless foul and free kick. Goal! From that free kick Rangers don’t clear and Carter-Vickers drills low through McGregor. 1-2
Half Time – Rangers 1 Celtic 2
Not been good enough. Started like a house on fire and early goal the perfect reward but immediately pegged back through such a poor goal, let McGregor run too far and brings a goal.
The second was coming and having survived so many chances we were too deep, fail to clear the cross and a scrappy chance is converted.
Rangers need to find a way to turn the press into something which they have done well at times but then no pace or killer moment to influence it.
We need a big second half.
Second half action –
50 – Ramsey chance but he is offside
60 – Penalty shout as Jack plays ball off defender, big shout but in reality nothing doing.
Double Caution 📒 Carter Vickers and Giakoumakis.
Double change – Jack and Ramsey off, Sakala and Arfield on.
67 mins – Lundstram drive low easily saved.
76 mins – CHANCE – Tavernier mistake and Abada is in after pass. Wide.
Rangers look out of ideas at this point.
81 mins – SAVE – McGregor world class save from Abada after slack play from Goldson.
📒 Caution Biton for foul on Lundstram.
84 mins – CHANCE! Goldson down the right and Roofe flash effort over. 1-2.
📒 Caution Ralston for tackle on Kent.
89 mins – Weak Aribo effort tamely saved by Hart.
90 mins – Roofe heads wide Bassey cross.
5 mins added.
Full time – Rangers 1 Celtic 2
Full time summary –
On a day when we had to win it turned into a disastrous defeat which stops dead any title defence with six games left. A proverbial mountain to climb for a team out of room and out of ideas.
So much of the ball but very little idea and certainly no presence in the box or attacking areas. Every chance was created by Celtic and only wasted opportunities stopped it being more. Rangers failed to create anything meaningful despite dominating the ball and that’s the failings of not strengthening in attack for several windows, aimless crosses with nothing to hit was the story of our half.
The gamble in January has failed and many people will now be answering questions, from the boardroom to Ross Wilson.
Out of ideas, out of chances and time up for this season’s title challenge.