Rangers 2 Hibernian 1 – Three Stars of the Game

Richard Foster, 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:  Richard Foster –  Rangers go-to whipping boy is my surprise choice for the best Rangers player in the victory over Hibs.  I know – I’m pretty shocked as well.  The opening formation of a 3-5-2 really seems to suit Foster, as his main emphasis becomes pushing the play forward, while he is left to worry about his defensive obligations to a lesser degree as a wing back.  Plus, he actually was quite dangerous on the attack.  He nearly set-up Kenny Miller for a shot-on-goal & earned numerous corner kicks by pressuring Hibernian’s left back.  For large parts of the second half, as Rangers were trying to figure out Hibs’ tactical adjustments – Foster was the driving force of the offense – even more so then his counterpart Lee Wallace.  When Ally McCoist reverted to a 4-4-2, Foster continued to push forward but also handled his defensive responsibilities well.

Nicky Law, courtesy of SNS

Second Star:  Nicky Law –   obviously his timely goal in extra-time was a huge moment as Rangers avoided the embarrassment of being taken to penalties by a 10-man Hibs side.  It was clinical finish, as he had a bit of time & made the most of it.  In the first half, Law played a really strong game.  He was patient on the ball & always looking to drive the play forward.

However, he was mostly non-existent in the second half.  This was largely due to tactical adjustments made by Alan Stubbs at the half.  There may be a worrying trend beginning to develop as Rangers take on managers who have the smarts, & the players, to make alterations in their tactical approach at the half to counter the game-plan of Ally McCoist.

Against Ottawa, albeit in a friendly, the exact same thing happened.  Rangers were playing a pressing, fluid match that was controlling possession & the opponent.  Then at the half, the opposing manager adjusted to how the match had developed & flipped the momentum in their favor.  Stubbs did the same on Tuesday.

Hibs controlled possession in the initial part of the half & were justly rewarded with a goal in the 59th minute.  Prior to the red card, Hibs had worked up to owning 51% of the possession – which was even more impressive given that Rangers outplayed Hibs during the opening 45 minutes.  Rangers ended up owning 54% of possession after 120 minutes but that was largely due to the sending off of Danny Handling.

Kenny Miller, courtesy of RFC


Third Star:  Kenny Miller – the addition of Miller to the squad this season really could make a world of difference compared to last season.  So often Rangers offense went static with Jon Daly as a lone striker up top.  When a match begged for a forward to make the runs necessary to open up space for his teammates – there was Jon Daly alone & statuesque.  Miller’s work-rate was most noticeable in the first half  as he quickly linked up with Kris Boyd to create a couple of opportunities.  He plays with a quality & confidence that Nicky Clark never seemed to figure out last year.  Once Hibs began to dominate possession – obviously Miller’s work went unnoticed.  As the 120 minutes dragged on, Miller did appear to be understandably fatigued & it begged the question to why McCoist only used one substitute until MacLeod picked up a knock towards the end of the match.

Lewis MacLeod, courtesy of SNS

Honorable Mentions

Lewis MacLeod looked shaky & even a little nervous in the opening ten minutes of the match, but quickly gained his confidence & clinically slotted home the opener off of a Lee Wallace cross.  When McCoist decided to go with the 3-5-2 formation it allowed MacLeod to play more centrally & it really suited MacLeod’s abilities.  Also, he will really flourish this season with Miller’s constant drive in front of him – creating passing alleys with his runs that MacLeod will be able to exploit with is vision.  MacLeod also wasn’t afraid to play with some grit & get physical with the opposing midfielders – especially after he took on a harsh tackle or two.  He was particularly quiet in the second, as was Law, & his set-pieces are from clinical yet – but it’s sure nice to have MacLeod back on the pitch…David Templeton came on in the 67th minute & had an instant impact.  Credit should go to Ally McCoist for reacting to Stubbs’ adjustments by bringing in Templeton for Darren McGregor & then flipping the formation to a 4-4-2.  Then, Templeton’s pace & skill kept pressuring the Hibs right side of the pitch, earning a number of fouls & obviously the game changing red card in the 74th minute.

Kris Boyd, courtesy of SNS

Dishonorable Mention

I have no doubt that Kris Boyd  will bag a ton of goals this season but it has been worrisome to see him apparently struggle with his fitness at the outset of the season.  One of the talking points of the ‘new Kris Boyd’ was that he learned to appreciate the importance of fitness from his stint in Portland & that was part of his drive to be a more complete player – the player we saw last season in Kilmarnock.  It’s still early, but he missed a few chances – that could have been goals.  Some were altered by strong defensive play & some maybe should have been finished if Boyd had that final burst of quickness necessary.  It’s still early, though…Ian Black, like the rest of the team, started the match strong.  He was playing with that sand paper grit he is known for & passing with real vision – but then the bad habits crept back into his game during the second stanza.  Aimless passes & ridiculous shots had his teammates shaking their heads on numerous occasions.  Also, it was his flubbing of the ball that led to Hibs equalizer.



7 thoughts on “Rangers 2 Hibernian 1 – Three Stars of the Game

  1. Sorry , cannot agree with your 3 star men , Foster constantly wasted any possession he did get and Law was completely anonymous for the 90 mins that I saw.It was only when Templeton came on we showed anything up front , and the other two would have to be Wallace and McLeod as they were the only ones that looked like footballers.As for McCoist reacting to Stubbs` change , he didn`t react until we conceded the equaliser then had to change from this ridiculous formation which had 8 players struggling to find their positions , then he took off the one centre half who had shown any energy or drive (Is there a rule that captains can`t get taken off ?).You are right Boyd didn`t look fit , however if you look at the pre-season stuff he hasn`t had many minutes on the pitch , as you say he will score goals but the service needs to be a lot better than this, he was getting the “Daly ball” for most of the match.I don`t like jumping on the Ally must go bandwagon but this tonight was worrying , Hibs passed and moved round us too easily and we lacked organisation , pace and a game plan and again seemed to fall out of the game in the second half .I am not sure that Ally has the ability to put all this right …..I hope I`m wrong though.


    1. I’m just going to take your points one-by-one –

      1. Totally disagree that Foster wasted possession – earned multiple corners & threw a couple quality balls into dangerous areas
      2. Yeah – I’m kind of regretting Law as 2nd star. He had a decent first half but did little in 2nd half – guess I was blinded by the goal. But Miller & Temps had bigger impact on flow of play
      3. Wallace looked good at times – but other times ran the ball into the ground (maybe not his fault with midfielders not presenting options) but Foster had bigger positive impact on match
      4. MacLeod I refrained from because, like Law, he struggled when Hibs made their adjustments
      5. Funny enough, when Ally went 3-5-2 vs. Ventura – he yanked McGregor at the half for Temps & went with 4-4-2. Same this time & yeah it may be too much credit given to Ally for making the change. At least he adapted but he was severely out-coached in the match
      6. Boyd certainly needed more match time during the preseason – something Miller didn’t need – largely because this was his second training camp of the season


  2. I, like William, cannot agree with these stars of the match. Foster in the first half, like the rest of the back 5, did not know where he was supposed to be. To be fair he had no one to pass to when he did get the ball but I still thought in that formation he was shocking. Only in the second half when we went to 4-4-2 did he get motoring up the right and cause some problems.

    Nicky Law was laboured and awful for about 80 minutes. He showed no desire to help Wallace on the left in the 5-3-2 by getting beyond in the channel and attacking fullbacks. He just lumbered forward at a leisurely pace and did nothing to link defence to attack. Again when the 4-4-2 kicked in he sat deeper to allow Templeton to run Hibs ragged and this worked for Rangers until the started to brick it with not long left. And as for Kenny Miller, he did run himself into the ground but like Law, he should have been in the channels to help out the wing backs. I didn’t really see him do that until McCoist changed it around.

    3 star men for me would be Templeton for showing that wee but of flair and taking on his fullback time and time again and skinning him more often than not, McLeod for putting in a solid performance, finding the net and his own men with passes (always a plus) and Wallace, who wasn’t even that impressive so says a lot about the rest.


    1. The Truth, what utter rubbish you spout. The ref was spot on with his decision, a tackle from BEHIND is a RED card end off. Referees are inconsistent and that is why that correct decision highlights the irregularities amongst referees.


  3. Here we go again , the ref won the game for Rangers…….yawn! Hibs were the better side at the time of the sending off but the only person to blame for this is Handling, it was a shocker of a tackle and the ordering off would not be disputed anywhere else but here.The ref , as usual, in Scotland was poor, as witnessed by the stonewall penalty not given when Wallace was fouled when he was about to score.No-one would dispute that Hibs were the better side at the start of the second half but the reason they lost was due to Handling and the players who missed chances at that time, not the ref.We know we were fortunate because Hibs let us off the hook , and that`s the truth.


  4. If were going to press teams we need to take advantage after the first goal. after the first 20 mins we sat back and it really could have cost us. still lots of work to do with this Rangers team.


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