Hearts 2 Rangers 0 – Three Duds of the Game

Steven Smith, courtesy of RFC

Three 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.

First Star Dud:  Steven Smith – here’s my first question for Ally McCoist – “Why did you even have Steven Smith on the pitch?”  His inclusion slides your best player further out of his comfort zone (Lewis Macleod), he offers no creativity from the midfield, & has failed to link up with Lee Wallace whenever given the chance.  Well, umm – he’s experienced & he did hit those two free kicks last year.

Yes, Steven Smith is experienced – vastly experienced at being a truly average footballer.  Average would be a kind way to describe his brief time on the pitch.  He predictably struggled to have a synergy with Lee Wallace & each touch of the ball ended poorly.

You can debate the merits of the red card until you’re blue in the face.  Ian Black’s clumsy challenge moments before set a tone for the referee that he wanted to assert control over the match (which he failed to do, given the nine bookings & endless parade of injured players sprawled out on the field).

Regardless, Smith’s tackle was stupid & pointless given the situation.  Why even make that tackle?  If you’re going to get booked for a challenge – make it on a player that poses a threat – not a player who just made a clearance in his own end.  A foolish play that became symbolic of the entire match for Rangers.

Kenny Miller, courtesy of Mark Davison (Actionplus)

Second Star Dud:  Kenny Miller – was behind the play throughout the match & it looked as if him & Jon Daly were playing in two separate games.  The veteran duo had no plan of how to play with each other & posed no real threat at all.  Miller’s tackle seconds before he was pulled out of the match was another example of a veteran player not handling the pressure of the moment.  However, it was a bit baffling to keep Daly in the game & remove Miller.  Being down to ten men means that a team should live & die with the counter – who would you rather have pacing down the pitch – the engine of Miller or the plodding of Daly?

Bottom line – Miller’s performance was a reminder that he struggled to get in the lineup months ago for a Vancouver Whitecaps team that won 12 of 34 games this year.  In hindsight, a very poor signing on McCoist’s part.  He & Boyd were brought in to win these kind of matches – instead Boyd’s been so poor that he doesn’t even start & Miller couldn’t match the tempo of a younger & fitter Hearts side.

Lewis Macleod, courtesy of RFC

Third Star Dud:  Lewis Macleod – is now expected to be Rangers best player & leave his mark on a match.  Unfortunately, he struggled throughout & even looked quite flustered at times.  Of course, when the manager decides to yank Macleod so far out of his comfort zone – you are reminded that he is still only 20 years old & learning the nuances of the game.  At some point, a manager needs to give his most talented players the best chance to succeed – Lewis Macleod playing on the right side of midfield sets him up for failure.  So Steven Smith was so critical to the team winning this match that Fraser Aird, Arnold Peralta, Dean Shiels, David Templeton & (we came to learn) Richard Foster were not suffice?

Ian Black, courtesy of RFC

Dishonorable Mentions

Ian Black‘s clumsy tackles set the tone early that players would be on a short leash & that was seen in the reactionary red card given to Smith.  Black was poor throughout & his bumbling tackle in the box was needless & futile.  Is this really a player that deserves to be the engine of Rangers midfield?

Jon Daly was expected to finally get the start & the results were predictable.  His incessant fouling led to a booking & while he is a handful to defend in the air – his immobility leads to Rangers becoming one dimensional in attack.   Once Rangers went down to ten men, Daly should have been the first player taken off to insert some pace into the undermanned side.



courtesy of RFC

Any Positives?

Lee Wallace played with an urgency & passion that was missing from others in the side.  At one point, you could see him imploring his teammates to move forward & the broadcast picked up him profanely urging Nicky Law to keep up with his engagement in the play – sadly to no avail.  Did Wallace play his best game?  Definitely not.  His final product was often poor & he struggled to pose a threat up the left flank – but it was heartening to see someone play with passion that wasn’t channeled into a stupid tackle.



11 thoughts on “Hearts 2 Rangers 0 – Three Duds of the Game

  1. Unfortunately Wallace is useless at shooting. Always sky’s it over the bar. I agree with most of comments and struggle to fathom McCoist with his inane substitutions. His starting lineup was basically lacking in creative midfielders , width and pace. Until he readdresses this I’m afraid we have no chance of overhauling Hearts.


  2. Have been saying this since Rangers started with a blank sheet of paper 2 years ago……………strategy all wrong, could have had a team full of young players some of whom might have been worth a few quid. Instead tens of millions of pounds have been wasted, with a team full of duds all on big contracts. Dear oh dear……..


  3. The best thing for us is going into Admin as that is the only way we are going to get rid of this shower o S**t. I am done with Ally and his excuse of a football team. Id rather pull ma teeth out one by one it would be less painful than watching this excuse for a management team.


  4. It’s time to change the midfield, put lewis mcleod in his natural position drop ian black, bring kyle Hutton in.
    It’s not working with black and law.
    Give nicky Clark a chance up front.
    We need a decent winger who can get supply into box for strikers
    Come on ally. Change it about or risk your job.
    Stop going with old pals act it’s not working.


  5. The mistake you have made naming the three duds is that you were looking on the playing pitch, my three duds McCoist aka Mo, Durrant aka Larry & McDowell aka Curly Joe, yes the Three Stooges are the three Duds. I have said it since Smiith let McCoist manage the Cup Teams, “He could not manage the Cornish Pasty Stall in Central Station.” But God help us if they get rid of him & bring that other no user from Clyde. He is the person who started all our football troubles by knifing Paul LeGuen in the back.


  6. I agree the biggest dud was McCoist for his team selection .Smith is a stand in left back and if Wallace is fit should not be playing. The McLeod /Wallace partnership is the strongest part of our team and yet he splits it up because he has no-one he trusts on the right, its a disgrace. He also moved our best centre back out there for the same reason. The lack of discipline throughout the side with Miller and Boyd also diving in to wild challenges obviously came from instructions to get stuck in. With our experience we should have been able to play it cool , especially with Craig Thomson as the ref. We all know that he cannot wait to send off our players so why did the team not realise this before the game. Although you are wrong to say Black had an influence in Smiths sending off, his general demeanour along with our captain helped turn the game into a battle and probably pissed the ref off even more. Did McCoist think the only way to win was to make it a war, if so he just resign and take his long ball game with him. He has had 3 years to build a passing side and has failed miserably. I am convinced that these players are not as bad as his awful playing style is making them look. Go Ally , enough is enough.


  7. Llambias has been in the door for a couple of weeks and 10 redundancies have been announced. Won’t even dent the bloated running costs, however it is a start. This demonstrates that he won’t pussyfoot around like Wallace and others. The manager and players are starting to show signs of cracking under the pressure and make no mistake, Llambias is calling the shots now. He is ruthless and come January I suspect players will be offloaded big time.


  8. yep, Mr McCoist reverted to type
    Must win game play a defensive team ie Raith Rovers Cup Final!!!
    When will he learn that he is managing Glasgow Rangers FC, yesterday was a day for playing our best attacking team, bear in mind we have not been beaten away from home for 2 years, why did he then try and play a tactical game against a severely weakened Hearts team? Answer no confidence in youth play full back in midfield again. Move best players to accomodate below average over the hill players. Schoolboy errors. Should have walked after karaoke incident after said cup final!!
    Ally please leave and allow someone to come in and take our great club into 21st Century. The fans will return when we revert to playing football and ditch route 1 football and the old pals act.
    If changes are made we can win this league.


  9. Jeez,where do you start with this.Blaming Black for Smiths red card is laughable. although its par for the course for this blog.Black constantly gets it in the neck in here despite being one of our best players this season.
    I also disagree with your comments regarding Wallace and Daly.Daly had a decent game considering he spent most of his time fighting lost causes on his own while Wallace was pretty much a passenger,as he has been for some time now may I add.
    You want MacLeod in CM?….Word of caution on that one……he has played quite a few games there in previous seasons and either disappeared or was outmuscled in a lot of the games.The overhyping of MacLeod is getting dangerously OTT.He is not Lionel Messi and should not be treated as if he is.


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