Scottish Premiership 2018/19: Kilmarnock vs Rangers Tactical Analysis Statistics
Artwork by @chapulana.

Rangers were back to league business at Kilmarnock and contrived to lose the match 2-1 despite taking the lead through Jermain Defoe. However, Steven Gerrard’s men went on to went on to contribute to their own downfall as they gave Kilmarnock two goals from a host of individual mistakes that came within the two goals. And yet again the ugly form on the road was back for all to see.

Match facts

Line-ups

Talking Points

Worrall and McAuley – No, no and thrice no

This is where the problems started. With Connor Goldson out and Niko Katic out of favour, he went with Worrall and McAuley. And honestly, that partnership was nothing short of a shambles. Furthermore, both of them directly contributed to the concession of the goals.

Even before Worrall’s brainfart to give away the equaliser, he didn’t look comfortable against Brophy. He was too tight most of the time and ultimately his lack of concentration gave Kilmarnock a way back into the game when Rangers were in total control.

McAuley other than his pathetic attempt at stopping Jones in the lead up to the winner was poor too. It was a catalogue of errors, in fact, firstly, Ryan Kent gives the ball away, McAuley allows Jones to run at him, Worrall does nothing and then McGregor should have done better too. Shambles.

Hopefully, Goldson is fit for Sunday and based on that 90 minutes, you have to hope Katic is back in too because neither Worrall or McAuley should keep their place.

Tactical changes in tough away matches have to stop

Go back to the 3-5-2 away from home at Motherwell. It didn’t work, but we still came away with a point. Now, look at this game. Yes, Rangers should be beating Kilmarnock etc. and all the other viewpoints that come with it, we all know that. However, to try a new formation and drop players like McCrorie and Candeias to shoehorn the two new guys into the side is naive and poor at best.

It was all wrong. The diamond was not sparkling it was an absolute mess. First off, Jack is tidy enough but his best displays have been when he’s been asked to play ahead of the holder. Davis was anonymous, he looks a yard off the pace and struggled on the left-hand side of Jack. Arfield on the right of the diamond was equally as ineffective and they got overrun apart from the opening 15 minutes. No energy, no purpose, no willingness to press.

Ryan Kent was the only one willing to take anyone on and show some responsibility in midfield, in my opinion. But I will tell you this for free, he’s not a #10 the boy is a winger. So Gerrard sacrificed his most potent attacking weapon for a shoehorn job.

Also, when Rangers were out of possession, the diamond shape remained. No one had been told or took it upon themselves to go and assist either full-back, giving Kilmarnock 2 vs 1s in the wide areas all night. This isn’t by design, it’s either poor coaching or laziness on the players’ part.

Finally, the front two. Defoe does what Defoe does: scores a tap-in. That’s fine. However, when you have a boy who is an absolute nightmare for defenders, whose game is to play up against them, roll them and create genuine havoc. And don’t forget he has 20 goals, why do you sacrifice that, to accommodate others, and instruct him to play wider, why?

It’s poor management from Gerrard and Beale on this one and there is no getting away from it, sadly.

This Rangers team isn’t good enough to drop performance levels and win

Coasting. Good Rangers teams of the past could do it. This team cannot. This Rangers team has to match their opponents’ hunger and desire to run hard and work hard. Killie were streets ahead of them in this department. Unfortunately, when you add that to the bad tactical choices, the individual errors and the rest, you cannot complain when you don’t win. The same happened in the Old Firm match but in Rangers’ favour.

No longer can the players live in the Old Firm bubble. They need to get their finger out, starting Sunday because this performance and result was way short of what is required and what they are capable of.