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: Kris Boyd – even though he never ‘officially’ got his name on the score sheet, Boyd’s play was one of the deciding factors in the victory. He was a real handful for the Dumbarton center backs & has really thrived since Nicky Clark entered the fold two games back against Falkirk The two have instantly formed an effective partnership that has allowed both forwards to enhance each other’s play. The interplay was on full display as Boyd barely looked up to square the ball to the hard driving Clark on the goal by the former Queen of the South striker. The difference between Boyd & Jon Daly is striking, as Boyd was constantly looking to get involved – often tracking back to lend a helping hand to Nicky Law in midfield. Boyd truly ran himself ragged all over the offensive third of the pitch – putting to rest many claims that he is unfit. Boyd’s play is so refreshing after the statuesque play of Jon Daly last season.
Second Star: Nicky Clark – it appears that Clark has finally found his niche in the Rangers side, as he has become a crucial link between the midfield & his striking parter, Kris Boyd. This interplay has really been dangerous over the past couple of matches & Clark was justly rewarded when he fired home the assist from an unselfish Boyd for the third goal of the match. Look for Ally McCoist to run with the pairing as long as he can – which will ultimately benefit the 35-year old Kenny Miller by giving him extended time to heal up.
Third Star: Lewis MacLeod – had a real bright start to the match as he was either running at the heart of the Dumbarton defence or launching a shot at goal. Once again, he was given the freedom to drift into a more central role & he was a big part of Rangers 22 shots at goal – 11 of which ended up on target. It was only when MacLeod was out wide on the left, when bad habits crept into his game – namely holding onto the ball too long. But once he bounced back into a central role, his confidence was on full display.
It was another fine outing in midfield for Lee McCulloch, who deserves much of the credit for Rangers bright play of late. Jig opened the scoring with a fine volley off of a MacLeod corner & instantly reminded supporters of the quality that he can bring to a match – especially on set pieces. Also, was the point man on Darren McGregor’s goal, as he sprayed the ball to the right for McGregor to fire home. McCulloch has the freedom to push forward, which has had a real positive impact on Rangers – however, it also opens up the team to counter-attacks. You would expect the captain to be more disciplined when playing better opponents this season…Marius Zaliukas carried his play with a quiet confidence as he was a steadying influence in defence & was always ready to push the ball forward. Each time he brought the ball up, he would take every inch given him & then would calmly dish the ball off to a midfielder to keep the flow of attack alive….So much of Rangers offence was triggered by the scampers up the left side by Lee Wallace. He was relentless in attack & always managed to be in the right place, at the right time on defence…Arnold Peralta made his 2014-15 debut as a second half sub & promptly took advantage of a defeated Dumbarton defence – launching ball after ball into the box from the right flank. He nearly set up a Kris Boyd goal, but the big man was ruled offside
There appears to be a real black cloud hovering over David Templeton at the moment, as his play was shocking at times. Balls were sprayed each & every way but rarely on target against Dumbarton. He appears to be one of the few Rangers players not oozing confidence at the moment, as many fear that he will ultimately become another victim of talent wasted….The enigma that is Bilel Mohsni reared its ugly head again, as Mohsni went from dominant in the air in one moment to clueless in his defensive coverage the next. Nothing captured Mohsni better than the short span of time in which he earned another yellow card, this time for a sloppy foul on a breaking Dumbarton player. It was classic Mohsni when, moments later, he made an excellent read to break up the Dumbarton midfield play & then promptly triggered a counter that eventually led to Kris Boyd setting up Nicky Clark. Of course, in typical Mohsni fashion – he was actually lucky to still be in the game. He probably should have earned his first booking earlier in the match when he fired the ball out of play out of frustration & nearly tagged the linesman who was calling him for an infraction. He ended the perplexing performance, with a wayward header ending up in the back of Steve Simonsen’s net. Classic Mohsni. Once Richard Foster return to health, let’s hope McCoist slides McGregor over into Mohsni’s spot in the defence.