In the first weekend of fixtures Rangers have already been on the wrong end of two very clear officiating errors and as a club we should be asking firm questions of the match official.
Now before we continue, I am not here to suggest that one of those decisions was sinister because it was an incredibly close offside decision. The fact Antonio Čolak was level is a split second decision that officials get wrong everywhere, we were simply unlucky and for that we should hope VAR will clear those things up.
It happens in football but interesting that the coverage of that moment is reserved to say the least. In fact there is more coverage of a very clear foul that led to a correctly disallowed Livingston ‘goal’. The fact Connor Goldson was pushed or the two Rangers players were being held round the waist seems to have been missed, at least by those not wanting to see it.
Neither should Rangers have any issues with the cautions we got handed either, everyone was correctly administered and deserved.
Rangers should however be asking why Don Robertson directly influenced the game with a moment which I still find bizarre even now.
Half way through the first half Phillip Cancar was cautioned for a crude challenge on Scott Wright as he turned away and began to break away. A caution the correct decision, it was what happened next Rangers need to question.
Just minutes later Cancar again took Scott Wright down as he turned to break away. Wright was away from Cancar again and breaking into the middle of the pitch, fair to say a dangerous attacking move. Cancar caught Wright high on the spin.
The official gave the free kick but ignored a very easy second caution. Instead after being pressured and questioned by our players, he called Livi captain Nicky Devlin over with Cancar to discuss the incident. Subsequently Cancar was subbed and Livi were allowed to have eleven players remain on the pitch.
Rangers would be right to ask why a very clear caution was missed and instead of sending the player off a substitution was allowed to be made.
Can you imagine the outcry if the official had shouted over Tav and say Goldson and warned Tav anymore and Goldson would be off? Subsequently we sub him and go on to win the game would bring a national meltdown.
A match official is there to apply the laws of the game, he isn’t there to influence the match and whilst it never cost us result wise, the laws of the game have clearly not been followed here.
I asked Gio on the above and he correctly asked why no second caution was given. A bizarre scenario already and one which nearly cost us, it’s only match day one!
Finally, Rangers can be pleased with the result if not the circumstances behind it. Was great to get the three points in such a difficult venue and in such difficult circumstances.
We can be a lot better that’s undeniable, new players will perform as they settle in and we will get used to how everyone plays. We can be pleased with early moments though, Matondo early glimpses will bring excitement to the team also. Add that to a wonderful cameo from Tillman and you begin to get excited around our team. Not to mention the return of the Buffalo which seems almost imminent if not certainly a short while away.
But tactically we can be pleased because vital changes by Gio influenced our results and a stronger bench meant his subs made a real difference. I really trust and like Gio, I really believe in what he is doing. Of course these wee moments help but if we look at the end of the season and big moments (Celtic semi final, Braga, Leipzig etc) he is really beginning to influence our side from the bench. That’s vital and to have that capability to adapt is pleasing, of course it would be better not going behind but it happens sometimes.
We have to remember and be patient, it’s a big challenge to come here and play at this club. Get behind the players and the team as we hopefully go from strength to strength.
Game one down, thirty seven to go and that’s only in the league. Anxiety, fear, pressure and panic followed by the ultimate rush is the thrill we have all missed!
Good luck Rangers as we head to Belgium. Hopefully competent officials await us.
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