Three Stars of the Game
Inspiration: 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! So in that spirt – here are Rangers Three Stars of the Game.
First Star: Kenny Miller – entered the match in the second half & his quality was apparent immediately as he added a spark to Rangers’ overall team play. Both Calum Gallagher & Barrie McKay’s efforts were enrichened by teaming up with Miller. He was calm on the ball & effectively used his awareness to set up others, this was epitomized when he held up the ball & nearly set up Lee Wallace for a winner.
Second Star: Kris Boyd – played the final twenty minutes & was a handful for the Brora defence upon stepping on the pitch. On the goal, Boyd was able to create space in the box & expertly slotted home the pass from Ian Black. Beyond the goal, the biggest impact that Boyd & Miller had was their ability to involve other players in the play as the duo created multiple scoring chances by sucking in the defence & then laying off to a second wave of onrushing attackers.
Third Star: Calum Gallagher – was Rangers most active player in the first half, especially as he was called upon to track back & play defence. At times covering for both full backs. He constantly looked to pressure the defence up the right flank & once Kenny Miller came in it appeared to elevate Gallagher’s effectiveness as his hard work was beginning to pay off. Launched a couple of dangerous crosses into the box & has now has had back-to-back statement matches as he fights to earn a spot in Ally McCoist’s starting lineup.
Barrie McKay’s return to the club has been refreshing as his energy & pace has the potential to wreak havoc on the opposition this season. He always looked to push the ball forward, but was often left isolated – especially in the first half – usually with no real targets in the box. His final ball was lacking at times & he had a handful of giveaways but McKay deserves credit for his proactive play…Trialist Marius Zaliukas & new center-half Darren McGregor came on for the second half & quickly brought stability to the backline. Both players were composed in defence & played the ball out of the back with purpose, particularly Zaliukas.
Ian Black actually played decently – setting up Boyd’s goal with a fantastic pass, however his retracted handshake with the referee (after he wrestled the Brora player to the pitch) was both classless & immature. Not exactly the tone you’d like to see veterans setting for youngsters to emulate…Lee McCulloch struggled in defence as it was far too easy for the Brora forwards to get open headers early in the match. He did get more aggressive in his marking as the half went on but he was plagued with aimless passes out of the back throughout…Kyle Hutton put in a poor 45 minutes as the team struggled to create much out of the heart of the midfield during the first half. It felt like most of his passes ended up going out of play or to the opponent. It is still early but the pressure is on for him to validate the manager’s faith in him…Another culprit in the sputtering offence in the first half was Dean Shiels who did very little to impress & literally had no impact on the flow of action…Nicky Clark only got involved on a few occasions & actually gave the impression that it is relatively effortless to defend him as he lost the ball far too easily & failed to create space as a target for the hardworking flank play of McKay & Gallagher.