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: David Templeton – his play in the first half was sensational at times & critical for Rangers setting the tone in claiming the league championship with style. He played with a confidence & flair that was infectious in a bounce back match for a club that showed no ill effects from the Scottish Cup debacle. Templeton was involved in both penalties – launching the pass into Little on the first one & being taken out in the box on the second penalty. It’s a real shame that his positive momentum appears to have been nixed by a groin injury. Andrew Dickson is reporting for the club’s official website that Templeton’s injury may be serious & will likely knock him out of action for an extended amount of time. If Rangers do manage to get past Albion on Monday – it will be a Herculean challenge to take on Dundee United without their most talented offensive player.
Second Star: Lee McCulloch – it was fitting for Big Jig to get the hat trick as Rangers sealed the League One title on Wednesday night. A team that saw so many walk away deserves to reward its captain with a successive league title under his leadership. It’s heartwarming to see a man who understands the importance of Rangers Football Club to have the chance to step up & slot away two perfect penalty kicks & put the grumbling of the last few days to rest for a while. His third goal was a reminder that Ally McCoist may want to revisit moving McCulloch up to a forward position next season. A platoon between him & Jon Daly would keep the two aging veterans fresh & would foster a competition between two prolific scorers.
Third Star: Andy Little – let’s begin with the good news – Little was an excellent replacement for Dean Shiels in the starting eleven as his energy & pace was a significant addition to the squad. He flourished in a complimentary role to Jon Daly, whose play benefited from Little’s runs. Daly was able to act as a pivot in the flow of play while Little created space for others. The sad news is that Little’s burst of speed on the left side led to an apparent hamstring injury that may keep him out, yet again, for an extended period. With Little’s contract expiring at the end of the season, coupled with his poor record with injuries – it is very likely that Rangers supporters have seen the last of Andy Little in a Rangers uniform.
It was refreshing to see signs of life from Nicky Law, whose assertive play has been in hibernation through most of the winter. Law was assertive in his play moving forward & showed his value of adding a wave of offense behind Jon Daly & either Little or Nicky Clark.