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 – was sharp from the outset as his link-up play led to the increased involvement of Lee Wallace up the left flank. His passing was insightful & skilled as he is developing the ability to play perfectly weighted balls into space to allow teammates to continue their run onto the ball. Also, it was satisfying to see Macleod be one of the only Rangers players to return the physical play of the Bairns – it earned him a few fouls but he was smart enough to not to go too far & earn a booking (Ian Black, I’m looking at you). In the second half, he was front & center on two of the goals. His 50+ yard sprint to the front of the goal allowed him to hammer home the second goal of the match – it was a goal that stifled the Falkirk’s spirits to the point that they never recovered. His assist on Kenny Miller’s goal was either a flubbed shot or a majestic pass – either way it was a delightful ball that sliced through the penalty box to Miller’s sliding big toe.
Second Star: Darren McGregor – Rangers streak of clean sheets parallels McCoist’s decision to finally let McGregor play his natural center-back position. This is much more than a coincidence – as McGregor brings a contagious sense of calm & confidence to the entire back line. He was forceful & clinical in his defence & showed crisp timing in his challenges. Was called upon quite a bit early in the match & he was more than up to the task. He had little to do in the second half in a sloppy outing from both sides until Macleod’s goal opened the flood gates.
Third Star: Kenny Miller – was quiet for the first hour or so, as Nicky Law & Ian Black struggled to push the play centrally. Even if he didn’t see the ball all that much, when he did – Miller looked to push the pace. He finally had a break when he sailed the ball to Jon Daly on a break who deftly launched it up to Macleod of the header. Then Miller got on the scoresheet sliding onto the end of Macleod’s shot/pass. It may be smart to try to conserve some of Miller’s energy & subsequent health over the next couple of months – his guile & experience will be crucial in Celtic match.
Steve Simonsen was more active than normal as Falkirk launched ten shots at goal – Simonsen was forced into a save on four of those shots. He was never really challenged to make a difficult save but was always in position to make the easy save…Lee Wallace struggled at times with his final ball but finally was able to send one into the box that actually found a teammate for a chance & that turned into the fourth goal slotted home by Nicky Clark.
David Templeton struggled again to find his game when not playing the role of ‘super sub’. Getting the start was an opportunity to reestablish himself in Rangers first eleven going forward; instead he reminded the Rangers faithful of what a frustrating mess that Templeton can be. He had his chances, but each & every time he either didn’t have the quality to do something meaningful with the chance or his decision making stuttered the play so much that it completely halted the play. A poor showing for the talented Templeton…Kris Boyd seemed slow & behind the flow of the game. His lack of synergy with Miller has been a surprise & he really may need to start the match on the bench to begin figuring out what is wrong with his game this season.