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 – the 20 year old’s skill-set is unmatched on Rangers & besides his stake at goal of the season, his superiority was on display throughout the match. If MacLeod is the driving force behind Rangers’ success – it’s time to cater the lineup & tactics around him & not around Nicky Law. Now in his third season, it is time to let MacLeod take over this team. Law is more than capable in playing a wider role in the midfield, while MacLeod is a more natural fit a central midfield position. Ally McCoist needs to give MacLeod the opportunity to thrive & really mature into the special player that he has the potential to be .
Second Star: Nicky Clark – it was another tireless effort from Clark, who is making an early claim for Rangers MVP this season. He brings a dynamic to he offence that Dean Shiels simply does not. Now if we can just find a forward with a finishing touch to feed off the space that Clark creates with his endless runs. The Rangers may be onto something good.
Third Star: Ian Black – outside of MacLeod & Clark there really weren’t too many inspiring performances from Rangers. They created a good deal of pressure, owned 58% of possession – but for the most part they left their shooting boots back at Ibrox. Black deserves a good deal of credit for clogging up Livingston’s advances & he was uncharacteristically quick & decisive with his distribution. His goal-line clearance saved Rangers from another bout of humiliation in a match that wasn’t truly decided until the final whistle.
The return of Richard Foster was met with a lukewarm response from supporters but he deserves credit for being composed in defence, especially on a couple of counter attacks from Livingston. Also, sliced open the defence & nearly set up Rangers second goal on a howling miss from Kris Boyd.
Oh my…it’s painful to watch Kris Boyd struggle to find that first league goal. He’s still earning his chances but it is getting more & more evident that a mental block may be getting in the way of one of the most prolific finishers in Scottish football history. On the play set up by Foster, Boyd absolutely whiffed on a ball that was set up on a tee with a gaping net awaiting glory. It was heartbreaking. Does Boyd fit into McCoist’s tactical approach? (enter mocking joke of your own here) He is not a target man as much as a player that can do more damage with the ball played in on the deck. It would be tempting to give him a break & have him start on the substitutes bench but….enter Jon Daly. Daly got 25 minutes of action to stake a claim to a starting role, but his own goal drought continues. Daly has now gone 11 matches without a goal & has not scored since March. Furthermore, he has only two goals in the past 17 league matches. He had his own chances but sailed two balls flying miles from open goals with little pressure from Livi’s defence…There was a great deal of consternation last week when Arnold Peralta replaced Fraser Aird, but Aird’s benching was motivated by back-to-back poor outings. Saturday wasn’t much better. Aird tried to maximize his speed & quickness but his final product was flawed on each & every foray up the pitch. Aird went through similar poor spells last season & has proven that he is more than capable of bouncing back on a dime with a quality performance.