Rangers 2 Victoria Highlanders 1 – Three Stars of the Game

Ian Black, courtesy of RFC

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:  Ian Black – is playing with a confidence that shows that he is ready to start the season now.  Black was coming off a strong 45 minutes in Sacramento (in which he shut down the star of the 1st half -Gilberto – & then scored the winning goal) & within the first ten minutes had the primary assist on the opening goal from Calum Gallagher.  Black seemed to be spurred by the opener & was the best player on the pitch Monday night as he controlled the midfield & was passing with a purpose.  His presence was felt from beginning to end, from the offensive end of the pitch to the defensive.  A solid 90 minutes, even more impressive given Nicky Law was not in the lineup.

Calum Gallagher, courtesy of SNS

Second Star:  Calum Gallagher – was the most prominent player in the opening half for Rangers.  He showed a real nose for the net as he stubbed in the opener off of Ian Black’s pass.  Gallagher’s forward position on the play was encouraging given that he started the play from the midfield – but kept his run all of the way to the goal mouth.  Additionally, it was his shot that handcuffed the goalie on Nicky Clark’s sprawling goal.  Gallagher really plays with a purpose & constantly pounced on the ball as he looked to flip the play on the offensive.  A natural forward, he still will have to work on his defensive game if he plays a midfield role this season – but with Kris Boyd & Kenny Miller now on the team it may be his best chance at playing time.

Nicky Clark, courtesy of SNS

Third Star:  Nicky Clark – was really buzzing for the hour he was on the pitch.  We got a little tease of what a partnership of Clark & Gallagher could have been last year as the two showed no hesitation to lash out at the opposing goal.  Besides his sprawling goal, he nearly snagged the opener & also should have had an assist on a shot that Gallagher managed to fire straight on the Victoria goalkeeper.  On top of that, he managed to have a couple of headers get on target.  Clark’s stock with Rangers has dipped of late but this was a positive reminder of why fans were excited by his signing last season.

Robbie Crawford, courtesy of RFC

Honorable Mentions

Robbie Crawford looked uncomfortable in his original role as a left midfielder, but then an injury to Sebastien Faure forced Crawford into a right back role.  Playing in a defensive position, Crawford actually looked more comfortable as he was able to use his fitness & his pace to make up ground on defence.  Crawford held his own against bigger forwards & showed a real potential to play the position – it was almost reminiscent of DaMarcus Beasley’s transition to left back for the United States.  He did look a little out of his element towards the end of the game, but all-in-all it was an eye-opening performance…Barrie McKay came on in the second half & instantly brought his trademark flair to the match.  His ball-handling & crisp crosses nearly created a few opportunities to score as his bright play was a reminder of how a talented player like McKay can literally flip the tone & momentum of a match.  He had a couple of lackadaisical moments that still linger in his game as he needs to maintain his aggressive play each & every time he is on the ball – especially given his likely role this season as a ‘super sub.’

Dean Shiels, courtesy of RFC

Dishonorable Mentions:

Dean Shiels was slotted as a forward along with Nicky Clark – but if you had the chance to watch you would have mostly forgotten he was on the pitch as Calum Gallagher was able to consistently pressure the defence from a midfield role.  Shiels’ effort was evident, but it was mostly for nought given that Clark & Gallagher were at the end of most of the chances on goal…Darren McGregor followed up his strong match in Sacramento with a real stinker in Canada.  He was literally manhandled on the Highlanders goal & was guilty of turnovers & misreading plays on too many occasions.  After his proactive defensive play on Saturday, he was more passive in defending on Monday & usually refrained from closing down on the forwards.  He did show his pace at times & one match should not ruin his chances of being the starter in August.

courtesy of @DJMMarshall

5 thoughts on “Rangers 2 Victoria Highlanders 1 – Three Stars of the Game

  1. Surprised we haven’t tried to sell Dean Shiels. bar a few goals now and again he has been very ineffective since he joined the club. and he seems to have no actual position at the club. i have always said he is a poor number 10 with not much to his overall game. if were looking at saving wages then the club could start with him and a few others i may add.

    Regards to the match im a little annoyed at our constant use of two holding defensive minded midfielders. i would like very much to see three in the middle with Black holding and McLeod and Law pushing forward. one area i would hope we add to the squad is another creative attacking midfielder with some flair and pace. if we could maybe get a few squad players of the wage bill then you never know.


  2. It seems as if Dean Shiels is content to stay with Rangers, even as he is on the fringe of the squad – bet some of Kenny McDowall comments were meant for Shiels. They tried to sell last year but no one wants that contract…

    Totally agree that the two holding midfielder approach is too negative for this level of football..Black has done well this preseason & should be all you need in that role.

    Speaking of creative, attacking midfielders – still no word on what has happened to Scott Allan since being spurred by Derby


  3. I love the “americanisms” in the report , brilliant.A couple of thoughts ….always thought Crawford had potential but was never sure where his best position would be, a move to right back could work , he`s tenacious , has a good engine and his distribution is good ,the legend Sandy Jardine did it , so why not Robbie. McGregor OTT praise for 45 mins last game followed by a bummer , welcome to the big time and Shiels was a big success in his first season until his injury , maybe it is time to move him on , but he has played his part in the journey and should be thanked if he does move on .

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thats what annoyts me with McCoist and a few of our players. yes we all like players who can play in a variety of roles but players like Crawford and Shiels always seem to popping up in different parts of the team and really not doing much to impress. Apparently Shiels has a good wage and sadly can’t seem him moving on but if you want to stay at a club like Rangers you have to impress


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