Stars Duds 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 – normally we discuss Rangers Three Stars of the Game. But when they play like this – we must focus the attention to the Three Duds of the Game.
Star Dud: Arnold Peralta – it is difficult to not pinpoint Peralta’s unfortunate 45 minutes of football for being a key contributor to the mess from Monday night . Given the misnomer that accompanied the arrival of the “Honduran Gattuso” last year, it was sadly not a surprise to see a teenager outmuscle Peralta to the ball on the opening goal. Of course, the fact that Peralta was left one on one as the last line of defence on a Hibs clearance was also a bit disconcerting. Then on the second goal, Peralta simply wasn’t assertive enough closing down the play on the wing before the ball was sent in to be met by David Gray, who had gotten inside position on Steven Smith. There is a hesitancy to scapegoat Peralta for the loss, but he should have done better in a match that will likely signal his exile to the bench for the foreseeable future.
Star Dud: Steven Smith – will never be a popular replacement for the injured Lewis MacLeod. He has filled in admiringly at left back on a handful occasions in the past & has more than held his own. However, he is not suited to be relied upon in a midfield role as he tends to inhibit the tempo from progressing. Ironically, his energy was one of the lone bright spots in the opening minutes of the match, as Rangers came out flat & were ultimately overmatched tactically. The errors, however, began to snowball in quick succession. The opening tally was triggered by his poor free kick being promptly sent up the pitch to Cummings who cooly slotted home the goal. Six minutes later, Smith was isolated in defence with David Gray & was left helpless on the second goal. Beyond that, Smith failed to sync up with Lee Wallace for most of the match which basically nullified much of the threat up the left flank.
Star Dud: Bilel Mohsni – week after week Mohsni has tragically evolved into a walking parody of himself. His aimless distribution out of the back has become commonplace as he often has the bizarre capacity to turn a simple play into a wasteful adventure. His demonstrative gestures to the jeering crowd at the half is only going to get progressively worse as Ally McCoist basically gave Mohsni a free pass with his comments earlier in the week. What is even more perplexing is that observers treat the 27 year old Mohsni as if he is a 20-year old prospect still in the malleable stage of his career. At 27, he’s at the peak of his career. Of course, Mohsni can still develop as a player but it is extremely unlikely that Mohsni is suddenly going to flip a switch & embrace the potential his manager sees in him. Mohsni is the same player he was at Southend & has performed up to the expectations he established there. No more, no less.
It was a clumsy performance from Ian Black who failed to clog up the midfield, allowing players like Scott Allan to dictate the tempo – especially in the decisive first half. Black’s booking came literally moments before the dagger that was Hibs’ third goal. Consequently, Black took on the role of a bull fighter exercising his ole’ skills sashaying alongside the protruding Lewis Stevenson – who would eventually set up Jason Cumming’s second goal. Black simply couldn’t get stuck in to stop the play given his booking seconds earlier…Darren McGregor was supposedly signed to compete for a center-half job, but has made the most of his experience as a replacement for Richard Foster at right back. He has performed well, but looked like a center back playing in a full back position against Hibs. He was shaky at times & often a step behind the play. McGregor was also clearly out of position as he tried to clean up the mess that was the third goal…Oh, Dean Shiels – yet again you jogged around doings so very little. Can we swap you for Calum Gallagher & let you blend in with the stoic Blue Brazil of Cowdenbeath? Please?