Three Stars of the Game
Background: After each National Hockey League game — the local media votes for the ‘Three Stars of the Game’ — basically the Man of the Match — but as a treble!
First Star: Fraser Aird – was really the only player dictating play for much of the match, especially in the first 50 minutes or so. Fatigue began to catch up & it showed in his final ball. It makes you wonder why Ally McCoist didn’t utilize the depth the club has to vary the lineups given the fact that it was Rangers second match in less then four days. It is easier to have a complacent approach when you are low on energy.
Second Star: Lewis MacLeod – capitalized on an active start, linking up with Lee Wallace well early on. His goal took advantage of a slack defence as he sliced home his first goal since October. Sadly, his injury looks serious & it will be infuriating if it was the turf that was to blame. Whenever you see a non-contact injury, you worry about his leg’s traction with the artificial turf.
Third Star: Nicky Clark – it was a bit of a stretch to identify a third star from this match. However, Clark is beginning to assert himself a little more & came close to scoring on a couple of occasions. The worrying trend is that he & Jon Daly really aren’t playing off each other very well of late & both players seem to be playing in isolation.
Cammy Bell has been forced into action more lately & while he doesn’t always look comfortable on the ball, his stop in the dying minutes of the match saved Rangers from an epic embarrassment…even though he made a meal out of a low cross a minute later.
The match got off to an awkward start as Ian Black struggled to keep a straight face during the minute of silence prior to the match. Harmless, but classless at the same time. On the pitch, Black’s quality has dipped in recent weeks & his game appears to be regressing to last year’s level. Complacency could be to blame, or the paralleled drop in Nicky Law’s play may be the culprit. Also, it’s time to give Black a break from set plays….Sebastien Faure is not a right back & while he has performed admiringly in Richard Foster’s place – the match vs. Airdrie was a reminder that Faure should be playing center-half. Faure repeatedly forced passes that weren’t there – which once again raises the issue of fatigue – as there was a complete lack of players making runs in the middle of the attack to create passing lanes…Faure may get the chance to return to the center with Bilel Mohsni’s dismissal. Mohsni’s reputation has taken a back seat this season, but his previous status as a ‘hothead’ & ‘a walking foul’ flashed again. His attempts to kill the clock at the end of the match, as he flopped on contact in the last minute, drew the ire of the Diamonds. Mohsni responded & was deservingly punished. We have seen signs of this behavior at times this season & you have to wonder how he would ever survive an hour in an Old Firm match. It’s a shame because he does appear to be enjoying the atmosphere of playing for Rangers — I’m just not sure he can handle it.
My mother & grandfather were among those who were fortunate to come home on this fateful day in 1971. It is with a heavy heart that we acknowledge those who didn’t.