written by – Jordan Campbell
It may be a belated assessment but continuing on with our Three Stars of The Game format from last season I take a look at the performance of each individual in the 6-2 thrashing of Hibs in the 1st round of the Petrofac Training Cup.
This year though we will be keeping a log of each player’s ratings in all four competitions with a view to crowning our own Rangers Report Player of the Year & Young Player of the Year.
I’ll be taking a stance more akin to that of L’Equipe’s infamously harsh rating system (they’ve only handed out seven 10s in their history) as opposed to the more lenient and easier to please British media. So with that in mind, 6 will constitute an average performance.
But don’t hesitate to let us know what you would have graded them in the comments section.
The Three Stars of the Game were:
Foderingham – 4
Should have done better at Hibs’ opener as he let Stanton‘s low drive go through his body. While he looks as if he possesses the ability to be relatively comfortable with the ball at his feet he causes a lot of his own problems through delaying his kick. On one occasion the ball ricocheted off Cummings after he had invited pressure and it nearly led to another goal. Nerves probably got the better of him but some of his wayward distribution will have to be cut out. It should improve as the rest of the team become more comfortable with getting on the ball in risky areas though.
Tavernier – 8
A superb debut from the right-back whose intensity never wavered from start to finish. His exquisite equaliser showed that while he is physically imposing he does possess great technique as it is a difficult task to get the ball up and down form such a short distance out. Moments later he showed great awareness when he drove inside and, with his back to goal, spun while playing a cute ball inside the full-back to Holt’s who crossed for Waghorn. Going forward he is a great asset but defensively he still has work to do in terms of positioning. Too often he got drawn inside to the ball and overcompensated when covering his centre-half which left their winger in acres of space. This caused confusion between himself and McKay in the first half an hour and meant that the winger was doing more work going back than forward. Also, he has a tendency to hold on to the ball for too long which saw him play himself into trouble on a few occasions but overall he was the best performer on the day and I would expect this to continue as his attitude is first class.
Kiernan – 6
Looked out of sorts early on as the shape of the team was all over the place and should have closed down Stanton for the first goal. However like most he came onto a game in the second half and looked assured when in possession, even though he tried to play too many over-ambitious cross-field balls. His pace and strength in the air make him a similar type to McGregor but his greater positional understanding and his ability with the ball at his feet make him an upgrade. Nice piece of exhibition stuff late to evade Scott Allan late which pleased the travelling supporters.
Wilson – 6
Looked to keep the ball on the deck but at times his lack of pace put him under pressure. Should have been tighter to Cummings in the lead up to the penalty but he played a great ball over the top to Waghorn for the third goal. His partnership with Kiernan will improve over time.
Wallace – 7
The skipper looked to have a renewed focus to his game and patrolled his left flank well with the minimum of fuss. He handled the threat of Gray well but was limited in what he could do going forward. A solid performance all-round.
Halliday – 8
Initially he struggled to stop the flow of Hibs attacks through the middle of the park and had me questioning whether he had the understanding of how to play the defensive midfield role. But when he got back on level terms he showed the grit and determination which was evident against Burnley as he broke up play with what are fast becoming his trademark slide tackles. Giving away the penalty (although Cummings went down very easily) which narrowed the score to 3-2 could have had a negative impact on his game but he showed great character as he bounced back with a stunning strike which went in off the bar for the fourth goal. By the looks of it he will be a mainstay this season and he may even have clinched goal of the season in the first game of the season.
Law – 7
Should have got tighter to Stanton for the opener and his recovery run looked half-hearted. However he got on the ball and looked to create along with Holt, using his acceleration to increase the tempo. As Rangers grew into the game so did he and on the second half he was involved in a lot of good build up play. Could still influence the game more though.
Holt – 7
He may seem not to feature much in some people’s eyes but he goes about his business in an understated fashion, using his footballing brain to get on the ball in pockets of space. He often popped up on the right hand side in the first half and it was there that he made his mark on the game, getting his body in front of the Hibs defender before almost telepathically squaring to Waghorn in the middle to slot home. His involvement is more quality over quantity and it proved pivotal before he was subbed for Shiels.
Templeton – 5
Failed to impose himself on the game before he was hooked on the hour mark. His positional discipline leaves a lot to be desired and it left Wallace isolated in the early parts of the game. The few times he did get on the ball he struggled to hold off the close attention of Gray and was disheartened too easily. He will need to pick up his performances if he is to have a future at Ibrox.
McKay – 7
Much like Templeton in that he couldn’t get into the game in the first 45 but the difference was that he stuck at his task and reaped the rewards later on as he bagged two assists. Firstly, some neat play out wide allowed him time to look up and slide a well weighted pass into the path of the onrushing Halliday who rifled the ball into the net. The second came as he took advantage of Hibs’ tiring legs when he broke down the right wing he travelled into the box before he picked out Miller at the back post with an inviting cross across the face of goal. If he can maintain the level of performance he produced in the second half he could be a big player this year – especially if his final ball is as good as it was here.
Waghorn – 8
Following his missed chances against Burnley many fans were already doubting whether he could be the 20+ goals striker needed but he came up trumps on his competitive debut by scoring a brace. He cut an isolated figure up front early on as the service up to him was poor but he helped change the game by tapping in or the equaliser. His confidence grew from there on and just a minute after the restart he
Miller – 8 (on 62’)
A far as cameo appearances go this was as good as it gets. In what is presumed to be his new role (impact sub) he showed his experience when he came on wide left, knowing when to keep the ball and when to try and attack. Scored two tap ins at the back post but showed his predatory instinct to evade his marker in the danger area.
Shiels – 7 (on 61’)
Came on and helped control the game by linking up play alongside Halliday. Staked a claim for a starting berth.
Clark – 6 (on 74’)
Didn’t get a chance to get his own name on the scoresheet but laid Miller’s first goal on a plate for him with a superb whipped cross.
TEAM PERFORMANCE: 7/10
It was a tale of two-halves and the fact that the team won by a four goal margin while only turning up for half the game shows that there is a lot more to come. If the second half was a reflection of the whole game then there was not much to fault.