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 – finished the season with another clinical showing at left back for the injured Lee Wallace. His stout play saved Rangers on multiple occasions – the most evident occasion was a tackle that cleaned up a calamitous turnover by Bilel Mohsni. There were actually a handful of times when Smith’s perfectly timed sliding tackles broke up the Pars attack. He played with a purpose & was one of the few players truly engaged in the match vs. Dunfermline’s B team.
Second Star: Dean Shiels – Shiels was probably the most active offensive player for Rangers – making a multiple effective runs to create space. He nearly opened the scoring in the first half – missing by inches. He was rewarded in the opening moments of the second, when he stabbed home the ball as Dunfermline’s defence was shambolic in the box.
Third Star: Lee McCulloch – kudos to the captain for the classy nod to Sandy Jardine. It was his finest contribution to a dismal match.
The Duds of the Match
Disclaimer: This was a match that pitted a club with the second largest collective salary in Scottish Football vs. what was essentially Dunfermline’s reserve team.
Bilel Mohnsi was characteristically slack in defence for much of the match. He was beat to most battles for the ball including the tying goal by Lewis Martin…Cammy Bell refuses to take command of the penalty area. He is a fantastic shot stopper, but rarely comes out to take control of crosses & that cost Rangers on the Pars goal…Call his play scrappy or call it clumsy – either way Ian Black looked completely disinterested in the match. For the most part, his passing lacked any semblance of crispness or vision. He was also lucky not to pick up an initial yellow card, when he insinuated the ref was ‘crazy’ with the universal twirl of the forefinger to his cranium. Not sure, why Kyle Hutton wasn’t given a chance to start over Black to perform one last time for a contract…Throughout this season there has been little to no consequence for poor play, especially for the veteran players. Few could argue that Jon Daly has been stellar in recent months yet he has started every match this season except for one. What would have Ally McCoist had lost if he gave Nicky Clark & Callum Gallagher (or even Andy Little) a run in the lineup. The match? Against Dunfermline’s B-team? Doubt it. Instead we got another glimpse at Daly who had little to no impact on the match.