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 – another crucial performance from Black as he was strong & determined defensively while creating space in attack for his teammates with his passing. Even though he was booked for a dangerous challenge he played with a controlled passion that consistently clogged up Caley’s attempts to move the play forward. He was a tireless worker who ended up being the point person on MacLeod’s winner – as Black sent Nicky Law into the box only to see his shot deflected back to MacLeod.
Second Star: Lewis MacLeod – will deservedly garner all of the headlines for sending Rangers into the final 16 of the League Cup. He played with a crispness early on that helped establish a dominant tempo for the opening half hour. Caley made some adjustments & the game slowed down to a snail’s pace. However, once David Templeton was inserted into the match, MacLeod took on a more central role & his opportunistic strike was the difference. The defence seemed to switch off for half a second after claims of hand ball & that’s all MacLeod needed to fire the ball that was ultimately deflected into the back of the net.
Third Star: Bilel Mohsni – one brain fart aside (albeit one that nearly turned the match in ICT’s favor) Mohsni deserves a great deal of credit for an impressive defensive performance. He was controlled & composed in his play, particularly in the air, & his distribution out of the back was surprisingly flawless. He actually picked out teammates with his passes rather than blindly thrusting of the ball up the pitch.
Nicky Law played a key role in clogging up Inverness’ midfield, as he covered every inch of the pitch several times over. Bucking his normal trend in big matches, Law was noticeably getting himself in the thick of the action & it was ultimately his shot that bounded out to MacLeod for the winner…Lee Wallace continued his confident play, as he seemed to feed off the synchronicity he is developing with Lewis MacLeod. As Wallace endlessly charged up the flanks, it created channels for MacLeod to move inside. It’s a formula that is working quite well for Rangers of late…Darren McGregor has become a bit of an unsung hero as he has grown into his new role as a right back. He is scrappy when he needs to be but can also cleanly win the ball when a physical tackle could lead to a foul. His pace was evident throughout much of the night & he has successfully wiped the name, Richard Foster, out of sight & out of mind for many Rangers supporters.
Kris Boyd is a little snake bitten right now, as unlike other matches, he really struggled to even create chances – let alone finish them off. He had one clear cut opportunity on a breakaway, but had little time to pick the perfect shot to beat the keeper. His work rate is still there & he still tracks back to get more involved in the play, so he is still useful when not scoring goals. However, he is heavily relied upon for big matches like this but little is going right for Boyd as of late.