It is understandable that the Rangers squad will try to foster an ‘us vs. them’ mentality – but it is misguided for players to think that the supporters are a collective of unreasonable zealots.
Nicky Law should be commended for his candor while discussing the fans recently but he still has a great deal to learn about what it means to be a True Blue.
Law was discussing the recent gesture of the Borussia Dortmund players lining up to shake the hands of their traveling supporters after their recent 2-0 loss to Arsenal in the Champions League.
Via The Evening Times, Law said – “The Dortmund players went over to shake the hands of their fans after they lost to Arsenal and I saw some fans suggesting that’s what we should have done.”
“But that’s probably the last thing we should have done. After losing at Hearts the other week, the last thing people would want to shake is our hands. I don’t think they would have been shaking our hands.”
“It’s difficult to change people’s perceptions. You can say all the right things, but people will always have their own opinion of you.”
Nicky Law seems like a decent fella, & it’s great that he goes beyond the canned answers most athletes robotically churn out – but if you want the respect of the supporters – you need to earn it.
Words don’t do it – it’s what you do on the pitch that matters. Effort, passion, resilience, playing for the badge – that’s what any supporter wants – win or lose.
Rangers show this – usually for the first five to seven minutes of a half & then the energy & drive tends to dwindle.
The players looked disillusioned against Queen of the South. It’s understandable, their manager’s decision to resign from the club got leaked on a matchday. Regardless of how you feel about your boss – you will be thrown for a loop – rocked even, by such news.
But a trend is developing, it is a common one across football & many other sports, but if the opposing team scores first on Rangers – the team goes into a shell. Often pushing back for a few minutes & then running out of ideas & the frustration is reciprocal between the stands & the team. It doesn’t help that their leader tends to stand dumbfounded, arms folded, on the touchline.
Rangers have been scored upon first in six league matches this season – they have won one (back in August against Queen of the South ironically), earned a draw & have lost the other four. When Rangers score first in the league they’re undefeated (nine wins & one draw).
Confidence is fickle & unfortunately Ally McCoist doesn’t excel in putting his players in a position to gain confidence, either individually or as a collective unit.
As we have pointed out exhaustively, players are played out of position on a regular basis. From Andy Little to Darren McGregor to Lewis Macleod to Arnold Peralta – players have been crowbarred into the lineup to cater to players who are entrenched in their position (the likes of Jon Daly, Bilel Mohsni, Nicky Law, & Ian Black – who have started regularly regardless of their form).
It’s a tired, but valid point.
When was the last time we saw this Rangers side play with conviction, with a purpose or as a cohesive collection of players feeding off each other’s play? Much of that is because McCoist seemingly does not provide a tangible directive when it comes to tactics. Championship teams have figured out how to exploit Rangers weaknesses. The opposition repeatedly & persistently look to push the play through the center of the pitch – often overrunning the midfield to take advantage of the Laurel & Hardy tandem of Lee McCulloch & Bilel Mohsni. Or they look to take advantage of a player playing out of position – over & over Queen of the South got the ball out to the left to take on a vulnerable Richard Foster.
There is no rebuttal from Rangers tired tactics of a 4-4-2. Often it devolves into a 4-4-1—–1 with Jon Daly staked into the ground of the penalty box waiting for something, anything to happen while Kenny Miller drops back into the midfield to compensate for the lack of service from Nicky Law & Ian Black.
The players seem to get frustrated as teams have figured out how to shutdown their flaccid & predictable means of attack.
Rangers only managed eight shots against Queen of the South, five of which came from within the penalty box. As the game went on Rangers showed even less urgency & the last shot they got off in the penalty box came in the 59th minute when Kris Boyd missed on a header. After that the only shots were hopeful, long range efforts.
Tactics & lineups come down to Ally McCoist. He can talk about confidence issues & performances not being good enough – but much of that can be faulted with the management team.
But beyond McCoist’s shortcomings, where is the leadership on this team? Who are the leaders within that dressing room? Who is shaking the team out of it’s complacency? That needs to go beyond evaluating Lee McCulloch’s job as a captain. The players need to look at each other for leadership during these next few months, especially with a lame duck manager.
To be honest, I’m not sure who it will be. Kenny Miller looks disgusted by his teammates performances & Kris Boyd has the confidence of a 40-year old virgin right about now.
Based on his recent comments, Nicky Law doesn’t seem to be the type of player that can rally his teammates.
Ian Black is too busy being Ian Black to be relied upon (see the lack of a reaction from his teammates after he was stomped by the defender on Friday night).
Lee Wallace seems to be the kind of player who leads by example & even he appears disheartened this season.
Lewis Macleod? You would target him as a player that you would want to cultivate as a leader but can you really envision a 20 year old asserting his influence in a squad of seasoned veterans?
Rangers are broken right now & there is no immediate signs of hope coming soon. Bring on Celtic…