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: Steven Smith – it only took eight months, but Rangers have finally found their free kick specialist. Each of Smith’s set pieces created scoring chances as he sent his first couple of shots on target forcing the keeper into a save. Then he created havoc in the Forfar penalty area that was finally cleaned up by a lunging Bilel Mohsni who headed home. In the run of play, Smith held his own – especially in the second half as he & Shiels fed off of each other well.
Second Star: Ian Black – it was a good outing for Black who was effective moving the ball in midfield while creating space for others. Had a couple of bad touches but clearly made up for it with a superb strike straight off the training ground. The Forfar defense was slow to react leaving Black with plenty of space & time to fire home a cracking shot.
Third Star: Dean Shiels – struggled quite a bit in the first half as he ran a few opportunities straight into the ground by failing to distribute the ball soon enough, even though he had a penalty shout towards the end of the first 45. Was a different player in the second as his play was fluid & he began to link up with Steven Smith more effectively. He sent a couple of dangerous balls into the box that Nicky Clark & Jon Daly could not finish off.
Arnold Peralta seemed buoyed by his excellent performance in the Scottish Cup, as he played with a confidence that has been lacking for most of the season. He was under control & effective taking on the the Forfar defense using his pace to launch a few tempting crosses into the box. He left the match early through injury, which created a few headlines in Honduras, but it does not appear to be serious.
After the Dundee United loss, I suggested that Jon Daly be given the rest of the season off. His play has been poor for months now & it would be an opportunity to give Callum Gallagher a chance to play up front with Clark. Obviously, the U20 match took precedent so we didn’t see Gallagher but Ally McCoist must realize that Daly is out of gas. He was largely ineffective on the ball & his finishing was quite terrible. At least he finally had a forward to partner with, rather then be left on an island, but Daly & Nicky Clark have not clicked of late. The duo really have failed to create a dangerous partnership this season, through a lack of consistent opportunities but also for failing to feed off each other when given the chance to play together. Even though Clark had a poor game he ought to finish the season in the first eleven to see what he has to offer. Clark was fighting the ball throughout, as passes were either not made (lack of vision) or simply sent astray.