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: Lewis MacLeod – began the match with a steady flow of balls into the box as his play was dictating Rangers attack from the get-go. Whether he was switching the play to the other flank or linking with Lee Wallace & Nicky Law – MacLeod was the star of the first half. The triangular play of Wallace, Law & MacLeod was even more dangerous because of the runs of Kenny Miller ahead of them to open up space for the trio to link up. The spin-o-rama prior to setting up Nicky Law’s goal was pretty damned spectacular & is a reminder that he is a unique talent that the club was able to unearth as they have worked from the bottom-up of Scottish football. Ottawa clearly made some tactical adjustments at half-time because the trio of MacLeod, Wallace, & Law were stifled in the second half but it still was a terrific half of football before that.
Second Star: Kenny Miller – the 35-year old’s constant movement off the ball in the forward position is a revelation after the stagnant play of Jon Daly last season. Miller is perpetually opening up space for him & others, as the trio of MacLeod, Law, & Wallace were the benefactors on Wednesday night of Miller’s work rate. He missed a couple of chances to score but he was effective throughout the match. It is important to note that this is actually Miller’s second training camp of the season & he clearly has his sea legs under him. He’s still not on the same page as Boyd, but that will inevitably come when the matches begin to actually matter. Miller had a goal wrongly taken off the board after Ian Black made a strong play to win the ball & Miller beat three defenders to nod the ball in. It would/should have been the appropriate prize for an impressive overall performance.
Third Star: Lee Wallace – this was the most active we have seen Lee Wallace since 2013. He was completely dominant on the left flank as he repeatedly was able to push the attack & trigger the connecting play between Law, MacLeod & himself. Early on his final ball ended up killing the good graces of his play but overall this was an impressive reminder of why so may fans proclaim Wallace as among the best British left backs.
Nicky Law continued his strong play this summer as he connected so well with the aforementioned Rangers players. His finish was clinical on the goal as he culminated the thematic link play of Wallace & MacLeod. Law continued to pressure the defense throughout the match as he really is carving out a niche playing just behind Miller in the Rangers offensive attack.
Calum Gallagher started his second match in three days & it showed. After an impressive outing in Victoria, Gallagher’s game slipped quite a bit vs. Ottawa. He struggled to create space & his passing was off all night – as he either forced the ball unnecessarily or just plain missed his target all together. Given how well he looked on Monday, it would be nice to see Ally McCoist give Gallagher the start vs. Derby County so he can bounce back on a positive note.