First Star: Steven Smith – two assists on the day for Smith. His first was a quality ball into the box that sent the Dumbarton defence into disarray & was finished off by Jon Daly’s belly. When he was able to catch up to passes, Smith usually was able to send a threatening ball into the penalty area or link up with an on-charging Lee Wallace. In the past, the two have struggled to sync their play but the two worked well together on Saturday. Additionally, Smith was able to get a number of scoring chances & came close on a couple of occasions.
Second Star: Kyle Hutton – was late to the ball on Dumbarton’s goal, but it is difficult to believe that Andy Graham was Hutton’s man to mark on a set-piece. Besides that Hutton had a solid outing. He was calm on the ball & able to clog up the middle at times. Basically, was just as good as an average Ian Black, minus all of the baggage that Black brings to the game. Also, Hutton appeared to be the most vocal leader on the pitch as he noticeably called out both Steve Simonsen & Lee McCulloch for not being aggressive enough on plays. Now Hutton needs to carry this momentum into the next few matches to claim a more permanent role for the team.
Third Star: Jon Daly – this was his best performance in a while & it went beyond his fortunate goal. Daly actually dropped back & got involved with the play. He clever touches were effectively creating space for his teammates as Rangers were actually looking to keep the ball on the deck. Seemed less involved in the second half as he appeared to lose a step (insert ironic comment here).
David Templeton was back in the starting eleven & while he wasn’t at his best he was involved both in attack but also defensively as well. He had problems with his final ball at times but he deftly switched the play on the counter that Smith was able to send over to a hard charging Lee Wallace for the second goal…Lee Wallace’s goal was a cracker but his celebration was eerily muted leading to an instinctive reaction that maybe he knows that he is on the way out, or it may have been the reaction of a veteran player who understood that the team’s play had been subpar & they were fortunate to be ahead. Either way it was a very noticeable display of restraint.
Steve Simonsen looked timid in goal on Saturday as he repeatedly passed on opportunities to come out & grab balls floating into the box. On the first goal, his reluctance led to a needless corner that ended up in the back of the net. Couple that with shocking distribution & you wonder why he was ever brought back in the first place…First it was Kris Boyd, now Kenny Miller has become totally snake bitten in front of goal. As always, he was constantly looking to get involved in the play & had some great chances to score. At time he looks like a real threat & then other times looks to be really showing his age. Three quality scoring chances were missed by Miller. Credit for getting those chances but at the same time he needs to start scoring goals again…Lee McCulloch had another poor outing & really struggled with picking up threats as balls are played into the box. The defence has been shambolic at times & the captain is a large part of that…The constant turnovers from Richard Foster don’t help either.